Hollywood is hoping that the closeout to 2022 looks better than Christmas weekend. There’s a solid chance that it will. While no new wide releases are on deck, holdovers could see their earnings increase from the prior holiday.
In previous years when Christmas Eve was on Saturday, that meant the typical biggest day of the weekend isn’t as potent (look up 2005, 2011, 2016). Moviegoers treat weekdays similar to Fridays and Saturdays during the end of the year with many on vacation and schools on break. For 2022, you can add a unique wrinkle with this past weekend. Many areas of the country (including where this blogger was) were experiencing winter storm conditions and bitter cold that prevented a night out. The forecast is rosier as we ring in the new year.
The years I mentioned saw most of their returnees see percentage gains. Avatar: The Way of Water will obviously make it a three-peat and I’m envisioning a slight uptick.
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish seems destined for the heftiest lift in the 25-30 percent region. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody should remain in third and I could see a 15-20% increase considering its A Cinemascore grade.
Babylon, after a dismal start and a C+ Cinemascore, may be an exception as it could diminish slightly. So could Violent Night considering the Yuletide theme. That might mean Black Panther: Wakanda Forever goes from 6th to 4th.
Here’s how I see that top 6 panning out:
1. Avatar: The Way of Water
Predicted Gross: $65.8 million
2. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Predicted Gross: $16.1 million
3. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody
Predicted Gross: $5.6 million
4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Predicted Gross: $4.5 million
Predicted Gross: $3.2 million
6. Violent Night
Predicted Gross: $3.1 million
Box Office Results (December 23-25)
Due to the reasons listed above, it wasn’t the merriest of Christmases for multiplexes. Nearly all titles couldn’t match my projections. In its sophomore frame, Avatar: The Way of Water took in $63.3 million from Friday to Sunday for an easy 1st place. I was $10 million higher at $73.4 million. The ten-day haul is $261 million. James Cameron’s long in development sequel is poised to hit a billion worldwide tonight and that third week gross should be impressive.
DreamWorks Animation had a far from purr-fect start in second (I’m sorry) for their long in development follow-up Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. It managed $12.4 million from Friday to Sunday and $18.5 million since its Wednesday premiere. I went with $18.3 million and $28.5 million, respectively. Luckily this could have a second life (maybe even nine) with little competition for its intended audience.
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody couldn’t find its groove with a flat $4.7 million opening in third. I was much more optimistic with $11.5 million. Despite mostly negative reviews, the crowds that did turn up liked what they saw and this should get a decent bump.
Damien Chazelle’s Babylon was a pricey dud. With a reported $80 million price tag, the three hour hard R rated tale of early Hollywood fizzled with only $3.6 million in fourth. I predicted $8.7 million. As mentioned, the only bumps I expect this to experience are the ones the characters are doing.
Violent Night rounded out the top five with $3.5 million (I said $3.3 million). Overall take is $41 million. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was sixth with $3.4 million, on pace with my $3.2 million forecast for $426 million total.
And that does it for now, folks. Happy New Year!