We, thankfully, have gotten the domestic box office past last year’s domestic performance by a sizeable amount (close to $6 billion). However, we are still not even close to 2019’s $11.4 billion gross (or matching similar amounts for 2017/18).
The fourth quarter has already started rolling, and we have a few blockbusters left that could make us believe we’re on the path of recovery before the 2022 theatrical year ends. So how far will they come to closing that gap? Let’s take an insight into these last ones for the holiday season.
The outcome of the third and final film in the reboot of the classic slasher franchise will drop into theaters and Peacock simultaneously this Friday, much like its predecessor last year. Last year’s feature massively disappointed due to filler content, odd storytelling choices, and lacking stakes as Jamie Lee Curtis’s character stood in a hospital for 95% of the film. This time, it’s her character sendoff as she finally takes on Michael Myers face-to-face. Kills earned $92 million domestically and $39.6 million in international territories, yet launched domestically with $49 million. So it may be safe to say that Ends targets a $50 million opening this time and probably a domestic finish of around $130 million. Yes, COVID uncertainty was still a thing last year, but now it seems more appealing to watch from a cinema than the confines of one’s home.
If there’s one bit of positivity for this finale(?), it’ll continue the streak of horror films leading the top of the mountain on the heels of Smile and Barbarian. The main hope is that it does wrap up the near 45 series on a high note.
Even with Dwayne Johnson at the helm and a must-have for the company rechristening its direction, the latest DCEU feature doesn’t feel anything remotely interesting beyond an Iron Man/Venom scenario. Barring reviews, we’re probably looking at a $60-70 million domestic opening and a final cume of around $250-300 million. The DCEU has been a clutter ever since Zack Snyder was ousted from the leading man of the universe and the recent tremblings with Ezra Miller, the fallout of Amber Heard’s trial with Johnny Depp (impacting Aquaman 2), and the cancellation of Batgirl has not given a positive outlook for the future. Fortunately, James Gunn’s superb ramp-up with The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker recently has restored a mighty intrigue, and given Johnson’s caliber for the next era of DC movies, we might finally be on track.
And did you ever think the DC would be restored by John Cena and Johnson in one fell swoop, both of whom had a legendary rivalry years ago and wistfully won’t meet in Fast and Furious due to the latter’s fallout?
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
This one is extremely tricky to predict due to A) the unwieldy nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as of late (Disney+ TV shows are also considered for this statement) and B) the saddening passing of Chadwick Boseman before the film got under production. It’s somewhat arduous to say how much people are intrigued by seeing the follow-up without his presence, considering he had a tremendous impact in the first film, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War. The first film grossed a phenomenal $700 million domestically and $1.347 billion worldwide due to its societal & cultural importance, MCU connections, unforgettable villain, and a refreshing change of pace from mediocre superhero cinema. The sequel’s marketing has been stellar, but it’s unsure if it can surpass its predecessor in terms of reviews and box office performance.
So, to not displease anyone out there, it’ll most likely be gunning for $500-550 million domestically and $1.1 billion worldwide. Perhaps it could exceed expectations again like its predecessor, but it will not be playing in China/Russia. And sequels challenging a once-in-a-lifetime predecessor like this makes it incredibly taxing. Prayers still ring for Chadwick Boseman, and we’ll see how much emotion Ryan Cooger can punch out of audiences once it arrives.
Avatar: The Way of Water
Much like Black Panther 2, this is also challenging to predict since it’s been 13 years since the original one came out and dominated numbers. It probably has the best chance to challenge Top Gun: Maverick directly for the crown of the year, but remember that beautiful visuals/CGI don’t hold the same water as audiences are exposed heavily to VFX superhero brands nowadays. Disney may predict a $650 domestic, which could work well as the long-awaited sequel will have solid Christmas legs and no other colossal competition. It will not gross the same amount as its predecessor, but a worldwide finish of around $1.9-2 billion is not improbable.
In our case, at least $600 million domestic and $1.7 billion for Avatar 2 seem like a safe case. Nonetheless, James Cameron’s follow-up seems destined to win back the following it has had for over a decade.