‘Avatar 2,’ ‘M3gan’ hold onto top spots at the box office

Gerard Butler in a scene from “Plane.” LIONSGATE PHOTO VIA AP

NEW movies like “Plane” and “House Party” were no match for “Avatar: The Way of Water” and the killer-doll horror flick “M3gan” at the box office last weekend as they topped the charts again, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

In first place for the fifth straight weekend was James Cameron's “Avatar” sequel, which added an estimated $31.1 million. That total is likely to balloon to $38.5 million by the end of Monday's Martin Luther King holiday. As of Sunday, the film's domestic total now rests at $562.9 million — the 13th biggest of all time — and its global haul is $1.89 billion. “Avatar 2” needs to pass $1.92 billion to trump “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” currently the sixth highest-grossing film of all time globally.

“There were such huge expectations and a lot of naysayers that opening weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “But 'Avatar,' for a James Cameron movie, is moving at lightning speed up the domestic and global box-office chart. I think he always knew this would be a $2-billion movie.”

Second place went to Universal and Blumhouse's “M3gan,” which, in its second weekend in theaters, added $17.9 million through Sunday, or an estimated $21.2 million if including Monday. The modestly budgeted thriller that cost a reported $12 million to produce has made $59.8 million in North America.

Horror movies typically have very steep second weekend drop offs in ticket sales, but “M3gan” only fell 41 percent. Dergarabedian said that's almost unheard of for a horror picture and shows “world-class staying power.”

Universal also claimed third place with “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” which audiences continued to seek out in theaters, even though it's currently available to rent at home. The family-friendly animated film added $13.4 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $110.3 million.

Columbia Pictures' “A Man Called Otto” expanded to 3,802 theaters last weekend, adding $12.7 million through Sunday ($15 million if including Monday) to take fourth place. Directed by Marc Forster, the film adaptation of the “A Man Called Ove” starring Tom Hanks is proving to be something of a rarity in the theatrical marketplace as an adult-targeted drama that is doing well.

The Gerard Butler action pic “Plane,” a Lionsgate acquisition for release in North America, rounded out the top five with a better-than-expected $10 million in its first three days. In the film, Butler plays a pilot whose crash landing on an island is only the first of his troubles. On the island, most of the passengers are taken hostage. “Plane” got better-than-average reviews with 75 percent positive from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sixth place went to the second major new offering this weekend, “House Party,” a reboot of Reginald Hudlin's 1990 hit that spawned several spinoffs. The film, which made $3.9 million through Sunday from 1,400 locations, was originally intended as a straight-to-HBO Max property, but Warner Bros. pivoted to a theatrical release as a gesture to audiences and exhibitors hungry for new films. The R-rated, youth-oriented comedy did not score well with critics.

Overall, the three-day box office total is going to net out about $100 million, which is not quite at pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, but still up some 44 percent from the same weekend last year.

“January is not going to be the slow month we thought. It's a great combination of films out there that's not just dominated by 'Avatar: The Way of Water,'” Dergarabedian said. “Theaters need movies and the studios are supplying those.”

Top 10 films: 1) “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $31.1 million; 2) “M3gan,” $17.9 million; 3) “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $13.4 million; 4) “A Man Called Otto,” $12.7 million; 5) “Plane,” $10 million; 6) “House Party,” $3.9 million; 7) “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $2.2 million; 8) “The Whale,” $1.5 million; 9) “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” $1.2 million; 10) “Waltair Veeraya,” 905,000.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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