December 16-18 Box Office Predictions

Theaters owners are counting on Avatar: The Way of Water to save them from drowning in red ink following the second lowest box office frame of 2022. James Cameron’s long in the making sequel is the only new release out and you can peruse my detailed prediction post on it here:

With Oscar buzz (like the 2009 original) and solid reviews, Water could potentially surface with the largest premiere of the year. To do so, it would need to surpass the $187 million that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness achieved in May. Considering the runtime of over three hours, it may fall a bit short of that. My projection has it behind Multiverse and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for the third heftiest ’22 haul and the 18th highest debut of all time.

Speaking of Wakanda, it will finally fall to second after five weeks atop the charts. Fellow holdovers Violent Night, Strange World, and The Menu should all slide a spot as well. All of these returnees experienced small declines this weekend, but may dip a tad more due to Avatar overtaking multiplexes.

Here’s how I see the top 5 shaking out:

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

Predicted Gross: $173.1 million

2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Predicted Gross: $5.5 million

3. Violent Night

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million

4. Strange World

Predicted Gross: $2.6 million

5. The Menu

Predicted Gross: $1.9 million

Box Office Results (December 9-11)

As mentioned, it was a sluggish time in theaters as Avatar is on deck to make a splash. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made it a handful of weekends in first place with $11.2 million. That’s on pace with my $10.6 million prediction as the MCU sequel is up to $409 million.

Violent Night remained in second with a sturdy 35% drop at $8.7 million, in line with my $8.5 million take. The Yuletide shoot-em-up has grossed $26 million in ten days.

Disney’s flop Strange World was third with $3.7 million compared to my $3.1 million estimate. Overall tally is just $30 million.

The Menu was fourth with $2.7 million (I said $2.8 million) for $29 million total.

Devotion rounded out the top five with $2 million. I went with $1.7 million and the aviation drama is at $17 million.

Finally, there was a bit of good news in a bad weekend. A24’s The Whale, in which Brendan Fraser is expected to vie for the Best Actor Oscar, achieved 2022’s best per screen performance. In only six venues, it earned approximately $360k. That $60k average tops Everything Everywhere All at Once, which previously had the year’s strongest average at $50k. It expands across wider on December 21st.

That’s all for now, folks! Until next time…

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