January movies are back in full force. Contrary to its ridiculous title, Jean-François Richet‘s Plane is an incredible time at the movies, especially for those looking for low-stakes, pure camp action. It is unfortunate that the movie isn’t performing as well as it should, but I’m also not surprised. The marketing for this film made it look like the worst movie of the year, and it didn’t help that the title made everyone in the theater laugh unintentionally at every screening I went that played the trailer before the movie. The film opened in fifth place, with a lousy $10 million. But it’s not too bad since it only cost about $20 to $25 million to make. However, those who have seen it are all surprised by how tightly choreographed the action is, and how the film is a good time in a cinema…and it is. If you’re looking for something new this weekend, check it out.
The 2023 reboot of House Party also bombed at the box office. Strangely enough, Warner Bros. never released it in Canada, without ever telling audiences (and critics) why, only that it will arrive on digital platforms “soon.” How soon? Who knows! Many of my peers thought the film was coming out this week, only to find out, through theater chain websites (and not through the studio), that it wasn’t. That’s not good and a rare occurrence that has happened only twice in my lifetime (at least from what I recall). Last year, Roland Emmerich‘s Moonfall did not theatrically release in Canada, even though it was entirely shot in Montreal and the Québec government partially financed the film. It was instead dumped on Amazon Prime Video in April.
Initially planned as an HBO Max release, House Party was re-structured to a fully theatrical one in August after David Zaslav and Discovery took over the company in April last year. It looks like that plan didn’t work, as it only made $3.8 million in 1,400 theatres. The marketing campaign was abysmal, but its negative reviews (which came out on the day of release…never a good sign) also added to its poor scores.
In a post-pandemic world, I have no idea why some studios don’t promote their stuff while others succeed at creating fun and innovative marketing campaigns for their movies. If the product looks interesting enough, people will go see it, especially if there is a buzz (positive or even negative!) surrounding the film. That was the case with M3GAN, and Blumhouse’s latest horror film still makes considerable money in cinemas. Having grossed over $90.7 million worldwide against a $12 million budget, it’s one of the biggest successes for original horror. It further proves that if a film is marketed compellingly, people will see your movie.
As for 2022 films, Avatar: The Way of Water is still the reigning champion, grossing over $31.1 million domestically, and will pass the $1.9 billion mark. $2 billion will undoubtedly happen, and it will be a historic achievement for James Cameron and the moviegoing experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is also a significant success, having only dropped 1% from last week’s tally and grossing $13.4 million. And A Man Called Otto is enjoying its widest release this weekend, with a reasonable $12.5 million tally. I saw the film yesterday and was surprised at how many people attended the early afternoon showing. Audiences were looking for a heartwarming time at the movies, and you can rarely go wrong with Tom Hanks as the lead.
Here’s the full list of the top 10 films of the week:
- Avatar: The Way of Water (Disney): $31.1M (-32.1%) – 4,045 theatres
- M3GAN (Universal): $17.9M (-41.1%) – 3,605 theatres
- Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Universal): $13.4M (-1%) – 3,687 theatres
- A Man Called Otto (Sony): $12.5M (+198.6%) – 3,802 theatres
- Plane (Lionsgate): $10.0M – 3,023 theatres
- House Party (2023) (Warner Bros.): $3.8M – 1,400 theatres
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney): $2.1M (-38%) – 1,910 theatres
- The Whale (A24): $1.4M (-3.6%) – 1,500 theatres
- Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Sony): $1.1M (-54.5%) – 2,205 theatres
- Waltair Veerayya (Mythri Movie Makers): $1.0M – 350 theatres
Source: Box Office Mojo