Box Office: ‘Avatar 2’ Passes $2 Billion Worldwide While ‘Missing’ Debuts Ahead Of Its Predecessor

January continues to play the hits well from the lasting months of 2022 while starting well off the year from 2023. Missing debuted with $9.3 million in 3,025 theaters, taking fourth place for the weekend. It did surpass its predecessor, Searching, in its $6 million opening, along with beating out the likes of Beast, Ambulance, The Hunt, Underwater, and 21 Bridges in their debuts. Had it played more like M. Night Shyamalan’s Old, we might’ve been looking at closer to $15 million. Unfortunately, it can’t work when you still have folks like M3GAN and Avatar: The Way of Water tearing it down still in their subsequent weekends. Thus, being shy of $10 million is no complaint here, as it opened more on par with Gerard Butler’s Plane last weekend.

The Storm Reid/Nia Long feature will dispatch its budget by next weekend, and we’re probably looking at a domestic cume of around $30-35 million. If it plays more like Old, we could be looking at a $40-45 million domestic cume. Harsher choice of words would put it closer to $25-28 million alongside Searching and Beast, but with no significant B.O. altercations till Knock at the Cabin, we could be looking at good legs for the Sony product.

Meanwhile, Avatar: The Way of Water finally passed the $2 billion mark. It is officially the sixth-highest-grossing film ever, and by the end of this week, it should be displacing Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars 7 for fourth place. It fell below expectations in its sixth weekend, though, meaning it will be pushing closer to $750 million domestically than $800 million. It will be past $600 million domestically by the end of this sentence and will stick atop the box office for one further weekend until M. Night Shyalaman’s Knock at the Cabin comes into battle. I don’t think many are batting any eyes towards Cameron, who is now the only film director in history to have three $2 billion+ grossers on his hand, and for Zoe Saldana to be a part of four of those six titles which did the unthinkable.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is legging out so dang well that Shrek 5 might be in the talks at Dreamworks again. In its fifth weekend, it dropped 21% and is on pace to break $300 million worldwide by Friday night. The animated sequel could be eyeing $350-400 million worldwide once it wraps up in theaters, even if it can’t reach Shrek‘s $487.8 million total. Still, it’s another win for Dreamworks and further evidence that families will show up for a robust and fun product.

Photo Courtesy of Universal Pictures

M3GAN dipped 46% in its third weekend for $9.8 million in earnings, taking third place. Universal is remaining in good spirits while Disney reaps the further achievements of having James Cameron under their belts. A $61 million domestic total puts its worldwide earnings at $113 million, meaning the announcement for M3GAN 2.0 was inevitable. The Chucky/Annabelle hybrid with a dose of Skynet will be the new terrorizing figure for the next few years and a subtle reminder of our society’s attachments to technology’s unwavering (and uncontrollable) usage. Maybe Terminator 7 could’ve been put to good use had Dark Fate not bombed. We’re probably looking at an $85-95 million domestic finish unless it can push through to $100 million once February comes.

And rounding out with fifth place is A Man Called Otto, taking in $9 million to keep Tom Hank’s feature in the runnings. Meanwhile, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is coming to Disney+ next week, creeping slightly toward an $850 million total. And Babylon is officially a box-office bomb, and we are hoping it’ll reach as many awards as possible in the next two months.

Next weekend sees the release of Shotgun Wedding, Infinity Pool, and You People (on Netflix) to wrap up January’s releases.

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