There wasn’t much sun at the box office last weekend. A devastating storm and extremely low temperatures across much of the country froze the idea of going to the movies a bit. Heck, I don’t know about you, but I found excuses to delay taking out the trash! Theater owners were reportedly already anticipating lower numbers as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fell on a Saturday and Sunday, reducing the number of days off for most people. As such, the three new major studio releases, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Whitney Houston: I want to dance with someoneand Babylon found themselves frozen.
However, there is one success story: Avatar: The Way of Water.
Arctic explosions and troubling flu chatter have apparently not grown JamesCameron and His Interplanetary Adventures, with the second chapter of his saga grossing an additional $56 million domestically over its second weekend. That number is likely to increase to $84 million if you factor in Friday and Monday, all for a total of $278 million domestically.
The international box office for the film, which will be shown in 3D, premium large format and in some cases a controversial high frame rate, is now estimated at $855 million. With any other film, the producers and studio heads would be in champagne, but as Cameron himself put it, his goal is “to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. This is your threshold. That’s your breakeven point.” Most analysts have put that number at $2 billion.
Seldom does watching receipts have this much drama, but it’s also rare for a writer, director, inventor, and explorer to describe their project as “the worst business case in film history.” He’s a little less than halfway to the finish line at two weeks, and he’s got history behind him – the first avatar was a slow and steady earner for many weeks, such as this summer Top Gun: Maverick.
Also, the story of Jake Sully, the Tulkun, and Ava’s clone Col. Quaritch doesn’t have much competition in the coming weeks, as evidenced by this weekend’s three other studio releases, all of which performed poorly. Puss in Boots grossed $11.3 million this weekend ($24.6 million since it opened midweek), which isn’t exactly pocket change, but still low for a family film in the US Shrek-Verse. The last Puss in Boots ultimately made $554 million worldwide, but that was in 2011.
In the meantime, Naomi Ackie, when it was pop legend Whitney Houston’s turn, took third place with an estimated $7.5 million to $9 million through Monday. Overall, few critics have panned out for the latest music biopic, and it currently has 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and 55 percent on Metacritic.
Worst of all was the hopeful awards season Babylon, Damien Chazelle‘s kaleidoscopic three-hour ode to early Hollywood starring A-listers Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt. The image is a flop paroon (to use whatever terms the characters might use) and is making a disastrous $5.3 through Monday. Although some critics were interested in it, it received a C+ on Cinemascore, which polls ticket buyers.
This isn’t the best news for Chazelle, her last picture first man, didn’t exactly reach escape box office speed. Perhaps he should have done what James Cameron did and snapped almost all of his next frame (and even a large percentage of the next one) before it hit the screens.
https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/12/avatar-soars-while-babylon-bombs-at-christmas-box-office “Avatar” is doing the second round while “Babylon” is making bombs at the Christmas box office