The 2023 movie season has finally kicked off with the incredible M3GAN. January has historically been known as the “dumping ground of movies,” where studios release most of their terrible films in a month where most audiences will still see the biggest blockbuster of the previous year, alongside significant awards season contenders. However, it looks like the tide is starting to turn. There will, of course, be a few “January” movies along the way (the M3GAN audience I was with laughed incredibly hard at the Plane trailer…that’s not good), but it’s also great to see studios going “wait a minute – we can draw audiences into good movies in January, especially if they’ve already seen everything and are wanting something fresh and original.”
That was the case with M3GAN. Its social media marketing was brilliant, its trailers were intriguing, and the film opened with rave reviews, currently sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It wouldn’t be a surprise for horror fans, as Malignant writer Akela Cooper penned the screenplay, and that movie was a total hoot. Cooper is currently working on The Nun 2, which gives me hope that the sequel to the dreadful 2018 film will be fresh and invigorating, which is what Malignant and M3GAN were.
M3GAN opened in the second position, with an incredible $30.2M domestic opening and $45 million worldwide against a $12 million budget. The movie has an entirely original premise and isn’t based on any pre-existing IP, which makes the case that audiences want more original horror movies (or original movies in general) with a fun premise and a great marketing campaign. M3GAN became a meme before the movie was released, which convinced many to see it. Unlike Morbius, the memes on the film were positive and drummed up legitimate engagement once the movie was released (the “Morbin’ time” movies were funny, but only because no one saw the movie). I walked in on a hot Friday afternoon for M3GAN, and the cinema was packed! And I certainly am not the only one who has seen the M3GAN effect in a packed theater, with the audience laughing at the film’s sharply-written comedy and even cheering for the icon that is M3GAN. Isn’t that magnificent?
A Man Called Otto has released in several more theatres this weekend before it finishes its expansion next Friday and has opened in fourth place with $13.1 million. That’s a good number because it plays in only 637 theatres. And to the surprise of no one, Avatar: The Way of Water is still the number one movie of the weekend, with a $45 million tally. James Cameron confirmed that the film has made a profit, and the subsequent three sequels will be released as planned. Eywa has listened to our prayers.
Here’s the complete list of the top ten films of the week:
- Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney): $45.0M (-33.2%) – 4,340 theatres
- M3GAN (Universal): $30.2M – 3,509 theatres
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal): $13.1M (-22%) – 3,919 theatres
- A Man Called Otto (Sony): $4.2M (+7.365.7%) – 637 theatres
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney): $3.3M (-34%) – 2,255 theatres
- Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Sony): $2.4M (-38.9%) – 3,184 theatres
- The Whale (A24): $1.5M (+9.4%) – 835 theatres
- Babylon (Paramount): $1.4M (-45.2%) – 2,381 theatres
- Violent Night (Universal): $741.000 (-65%) – 1,981 theatres
- The Menu (Disney): $713.000 (-35.2%) – 800 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo