Traditionally, the first month of the year has been a place of slush, as studios shrug off the residual glow of holiday blockbusters and prestige movie audiences try to catch up before the awards show starts. January might not be the best time to launch your new franchise picture with a $300 million budget, but it's proven to be a great launching pad for modestly budgeted horror films.
In the last ten years we have seen films such as Texas Chainsaw (2013- $21.7 million opening), Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014- $18.3 million opening), Insidious: The Last Key (2018- $29.5 million opening), Escape room (2019- $18.2 million opening), Scream (2022- $33.8 million opening) and M3GAN (2023- $30.4 million opening) show that audiences like to start their new year with a little spine tingling.
This year James Wan and Jason Blum, which recently announced the merger of their two production companiesthey bring us their new horror story with Night swimminga movie that seems to do in pools what Jaws did in the ocean. As of this writing, the critics' embargo has not been lifted on the film and therefore I cannot tell you whether the film is leaning towards a new horror classic or a forgotten piece of schlock. What I can tell you is that despite last year was a solid return to theaters financiallyreaching over $9 billion in ticket sales, the best number since the pandemic, we ended the year on a decent if not spectacular note.
In previous years, there was no doubt that the big superhero movie released during the holidays would continue to clean up at the box office, but Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom turned out to be a huge lump of coal (and I'll even say that I don't think it's director James Wan's fault, I think those DC movies had too much studio interference to the point where Wan was just there to do action and cut .)
Wonka became the big winner of Holiday 2023 and should see solid numbers in the coming weeks as the box office sees a bit of a lull between seasons. The big question is the will Night swimming do you have enough juice to start the new year on top? I believe it is. The trailers of the movie were effective and creepy and the movie doesn't need astronomical numbers to land first. I think anything over $15 million will get it, and I think this one has the juice to get around $17 million. Horror movies tend to be review proof, so even if reviews come out calling this PG13 horror movie trash, audiences will still show up.
This will go away Wonka to take second place with about $15 million, which would be a drop in the 30% range. The film has proven to be a genuine crowd pleaser with a 91% audience rating, delivering a genuine new story with enough connective tissue to the original film (and book) to give audiences that nostalgia rush.
Third place should go to his moving birds Immigration as this film also plays the big game in theaters with small daily drops as families don't always feel the need to hit the theaters right away. I think this will see a weekend in the $12 million range as it continues its slow march towards the $100 million club and beyond.
The aforementioned Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has a chance to join that $100 million club this weekend if he can secure around $10 million. I'm not entirely sure he'll get there, he's about $8-9 million short. However, the international numbers are actually pretty solid on this final entry in the DCEU, as it has grossed nearly $200 million overseas for a worldwide total of around $270 million. That number seems impressive, until you realize that the film has a budget of over $200 million.
Spot Five will be a battle between a few films. The romantic comedy is rated R Anyone but you was the winner throughout the week in his competition at The Color Purple and The boys in the boat with only about $27,000 separating the latter of the two at Tuesday's box office. I don't believe it was directed by George Clooney The boys in the boat will get this point, although it deserves it in my opinion, as I found the film to be an old school biography. I'll give the tip to The Color Purple for that fifth place, as I believe the recognition of the awards she has received will push her a little further than Anyone but you with grosses of around $7 million. But we'll see, the musical adaptation has taken a bit of a tumble since its strong debut on Christmas Day.
You will catch the new horror movie Night swimming this weekend or catching up on some of the year-end titles you missed? Let us know in the comments and don't forget to tune in on Saturday when we have a quick update on where the box office numbers are headed.
TOP FIVE PREDICTIONS
- Night swimming– 17 million dollars
- Wonka– 15 million dollars
- Immigration– 12 million dollars
- Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom– 8.5 million dollars
- The Color Purple– 7 million dollars
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