First and foremost, happy new year. Here’s hoping that 2023 will bring us another incredible year for motion pictures because 2022 was pretty exceptional, especially regarding the quality of blockbusters Hollywood released during the year. I still can’t believe how good Avatar: The Way of Water was, which ended the year on a more than high note.
Last week, Avatar: The Way of Water made $63.3 million and crossed the $1 billion club, making it the fourth film to make that amount of money during the COVID-19 pandemic with Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion. This week, Avatar: The Way of Water made $63.4 million, and its numbers did not drop once. The film is on its way to being the first in the COVID-era to make $2 billion, which will be even more impressive since, for the past thirteen years, we have heard that “nobody cares about Avatar anymore.” That should teach anyone who doubted James Cameron to stop doubting him.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also made a considerable amount of money during the holiday week, raking in $16.3 million and $4.3 million, each making more money than in the previous week. I did not write a column last week, as I was away for Christmas, but my predictions two weeks ago on the successes of The Last Wish and The Way of Water were pretty spot-on. Once schools were closed, families would flock to either one. Though I will admit that $2 billion for The Way of Water seemed like a stretch, especially with how moviegoing habits have changed during the pandemic. However, it’s on track to do so, which proves how much of a force James Cameron is in Hollywood.
Despite nominations at the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards, Babylon is still struggling. Damien Chazelle‘s latest, which boasts an incredible cast, only made about $2.7 million and will likely be Paramount’s biggest box office bomb of 2022. It was indeed a big ask for consumers, with a daunting 189-minute runtime (especially with another three-hour blockbuster released around the same time that seemed safer for the average moviegoer) and mixed reviews from critics alike. However, the movie certainly has its fans. But a three-hour film released in this era may not do well if it’s not a colossal tentpole like the MCU, the DCU, Avatar, or Star Wars.
RRR was the exception, but that’s only because of its strong word-of-mouth. If you ask someone if they liked Babylon, they will either tell you that it’s the best movie of the year or the worst (at least, that was my experience before seeing it). That’s not great, even if the movie gets many accolades via significant award ceremonies. Who knows? Should the film be nominated for the Oscars, maybe audiences could flock to theatres then, but that is in a while from now, when bigger movies are getting released.
Here’s the complete list of the top ten films of the week:
- Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney): $63.4M (+0.2%) – 4,202 theatres
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Dreamworks): $16.3M (+31.2%) – 4,121 theatres
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney): $4.8M (+38.3%) – 2,310 theatres
- Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Sony): $4.2M (-10.8%) – 3,625 theatres
- Babylon (Paramount): $2.7M (-24.2%) – 3,351 theatres
- Violent Night (Universal): $2.1M (-39.4%) – 2,653 theatres
- The Whale (A24): $1.3M (+28.1%) – 623 theatres
- The Fabelmans (Universal): $1.1M (+53%) – 1,149 theatres
- The Menu (Disney): $1.0M (+57.8%) – 860 theatres
- Strange World (Disney): $538.000 (+30.2%) – 1,240 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo