With the Christmas and Hannukah holidays officially over, we can finally turn our attention back to what matters most: cash registers! And, to put it bluntly, unless you were the sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time, it wasn’t a great weekend for you!
As expected Avatar: The Way of Water came in at number one with an estimated $64 million in 3 days, while some see the 4-day reaching $100 million. The film appears to have had solid Christmas Day numbers at $29 million, making it the fourth best Christmas Day of all time (back The Force Awakens, The Rise of Skywalker and Spider-Man: No Way Home). The sequel also played to excellent numbers on weekdays, and this second weekend is really outstanding! What does all this mean? Well, last week, when the film performed quite strongly even under the most modest predictions, some are sounding the alarm bells. But these numbers did not represent a lack of interest in the film, but rather a lack of good seats! Avatar: The Way of Water it’s something to be experienced under optimal conditions, and sitting at the front of a theater with your neck craning straight up is just not the way to do it. So people decided to wait. When I looked at my local theater app on Christmas Day to see how full each movie was, it was really only Avatar who had sold the majority of their seats. With almost a billion already made in two weeks of release worldwide, Avatar: The Way of Water it is doing fine at the box office and will continue to do so for quite some time.
From the new releases, the animation sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish fared better, though I’ll blame the massive winter storm that blanketed nearly the entire United States for my prediction being so far from the point. The film’s weekend performance was only $12.4 million, while its full holiday weekend haul from Wednesday’s opening is only around $26.9 million. The first film grossed just over $34 million in 3 days for a domestic total of $149.2. The worldwide numbers are slightly optimistic as it opened to over $51 million. Again, let’s not bury the lead: with great reviews (including an 8/10 score from our very own JimmyO), excellent audience ratings (currently at 93%) and a solid cinema rating (the original received an A-) combined with no real family competition until April 7, 2023 (when The movie Super Mario Bros released), Puss in Boots: The Last Wish it will be fine at long range.
Now we must address the elephants in the room: the bombs in the treasury. This holiday season it looks like Santa dropped a lump of coal in the stocking of Sony and Paramount as their films Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (which seems to be the official title of the films now, as I guess Sony didn’t think many people made the connection between I want to dance with someone and Whitney Houston) and Babylon both failed to gross over $6 million (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody earned just $4.7 million for the weekend Babylon completely leveled at just $3.6 million). To put this into even greater perspective: both films failed to break even at the domestic opening Cats which was released on Christmas 2019! Both films were released to capitalize on awards season, albeit to mediocre reviews (including a 6/10 from our very own Chris Bumbray) and only one nomination so far (for Outstanding Editing from the Black Reel Awards), it looks like this Whitney Houston biopic might be one of those films that just fades away. It’s a shame, as I think Whitney Houston is someone who deserves a great biopic, but the consensus seems to be that this one was a little too cliche.
Concerning Babylonwith a reported budget of $80 million and more midway reviews (including another 6/10 review by Chris Bumbray) this looks to be one of the biggest bombs of 2022. Having seen the film (and being a huge fan of all the talent involved) I can say that I really enjoyed this film for about 2 and a half hours, but at a certain point it was all a bit much for me. I think that with a more judicious treatment, Babylon could have been one of Hollywood’s best films for the transition from the silent era to the talkies. There is a scene at the beginning of the movie that shows how silent movies were made that is one of the best scenes from any movie this year. Chazelle and his cinematographer Linus Sandgren (who won an Oscar for lensing La La Land) you have a unique way of using fixed cameras for long beautiful shots, but then again, those last thirty minutes were a bit much. The good news about it is that it’s garnering a few award nominations, including 9 Critics’ Choice Awards and 5 Golden Globe Awards, which generally translates to a slight boost at the box office. However, it would take a pretty big hit to come close to that $80 million budget.
Rounding out the top five is the R-rated Santa Die hard meets Home Alone film Violent night. Even though this was released relatively quickly on video-on-demand to take advantage of the holiday money at home, it seems that people still wanted to see this new Christmas classic on the big screen as it finally managed to beat Black Panther: Wakanda Forever with an estimated return of $3.1 million to Black Panther $3.02 million. Of course with Christmas over, you can expect this to drop quickly, but that doesn’t matter a sequel to the yuletide bloodfest is already being discussed.
Coming in at seventh place, up 539% in its weekly box office performance is Darren Aronofsky’s excellent film The whale with an estimated $924k. It’s obvious that people are heading to one of the 603 screens playing this movie to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to Brendan Fraser’s sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated performance (I also hope to see Hong Chow sneaky nomination because she is brilliant in this movie and also The menu).
Talking about The menu, the film continues its pretty impressive run with an additional $617K and a $33.7M total. As I’ve said before, go see this movie! It is far and away one of the best of the year. Rounding out the top ten are a pair of box office underperformers with Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans receiving about 550 thousand dollars and Disney Strange world raising an addition of $410k.
Did you make it to the theaters this weekend or was it the lottery Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery on Netflix everything you needed? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our poll where we ask you what you’ve got favorite movie directed by james cameron is.
“Falls down a lot. Unapologetic alcohol guru. Travel specialist. Amateur beer trailblazer. Award-winning tv advocate. Hipster-friendly twitter aficionado”