The audience response at the box office has been tepid, to say the least, as there have been no major releases this week, and there continues to be a pre-Christmas slump or, more accurately, a pre-Avatar: The Way of Water slump at the box office. Cameron’s second installment of the Avatar franchise is supposed to be an event in itself.
The studios have refrained from any major releases to compete with the CGI spectacle that the land of Pandora promises to be. This weekend has the second-lowest collections at the box office, managing to gain only $38.3 million. It has surpassed the 28th-30th January 2022 weekend, which remains the worst-performing weekend of the year at $34.57 million.
Reigning the box office unchallenged and unconquered is Marvel’s ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, which earned $11.1 million in the fifth weekend of its release. The film’s sales amount to the biggest fraction of the box office earnings this week. With this week behind it, the sequel to the Academy Award-nominated Black Panther enters the elusive $400 million club with cumulative earnings of $401.55 million on Friday and $409.8 million as of today. The film is expected to easily cross the studio’s ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ by next week, making it the second-highest US domestic earning film after Tom Cruise starring Top Gun: Maverick.
Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed ‘The Whale’ was released this week. This year, the film received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Brendan Fraser’s performance as an obese and reclusive English teacher who attempts to reconnect with his teenage daughter has put him strongly in the race for an Academy Award for best actor. While the film is receiving praise and is doing well with the best per theatre average at $60 thousand, it hasn’t managed to make a big contribution to the overall box office numbers, which remain second lowest in the year.
Searchlight Picture’s ‘Empire of the Light’ was released this week. This film has the Oscar-winning trinity in key positions with Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes at the helm; Mendes won the Academy Award for Best Director for ‘American Beauty (2000); it stars Olivia Coleman and Colin Firth, who won Academy Awards for Best Actor and Actress for ‘The Favourite’ (2018) and ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010) respectively. Despite such a strong team, the film hasn’t managed to make a mark in ticket sales and is seemingly struggling at the box office. The film only managed to earn about $67000 at the box office across 110 locations that it released. With such meager numbers at the first weekend, the film is not projected to pick up in the next weekend as well and isn’t expected to last in the face of the massive release of ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’
Universal Studio’s Christmas-themed action film ‘Violent Night’ is the weekend’s second-best-earning film. This David Harbour starrer film about a Viking warrior Santa taking on a group of mercenaries to save a family who has been taken hostage has managed to keep audiences entertained in the second week of its release. The film is projected to earn $8 million over the weekend, a 40% drop from last week’s earnings. The film is expected to make $26 million in the US domestic market before the weekend ends.
Disney’s animated adventure film ‘Strange World’ also continues to perform badly this week after the worst opening at the preview. Even though it is the third highest-earning film this week, with US domestic ticket sales at $27.6 million, the film is far away from earning back its big production budget of $180 million. Ticket sales are projected to face another slump in the next week.
Searchlight’s culinary comedy thriller ‘The Menu’ faced a slight 20% drop in ticket sales this week. The film holds the fourth position in ticket sales. This specialty release film starring Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult is close to making domestic gross earnings of $30 million. Based on a true story, Sony’s military drama ‘Devotion’ is projected to make $1.9 million over the weekend, putting its cumulative earnings at $16 million and getting it the fifth spot on the box office performance list.