A $100M MLK Box Office Takes Shape￼
In all the mumblings about the 2023 Box Office, we have a key weekend coming very early in the year- the Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend. And even the most skeptical of pundits can’t deny that there’s was very juicy slate on offer for this key milestone. Blake & Wang P.A entertainment attorney, Brandon Blake, looks at what’s on offer.
The $100M Weekend
Takings for the MLK holiday weekend should top $100M, with Avatar: The Way of Water and M3GAN taking the lion’s share of that total. While it’s not exceptional compared to some MLK weekends we’ve seen, but between their performance and three other titles netting upward of $10M a piece, it’s still good news for theaters.
Unlike more profitable years, there was very little in the holdover department from the Christmas period (except arguably Avatar 2) and little from the award season hype either. Again, we circle back to a lack of available films being at fault, rather than a lack of interest from theater goers.
Also on the plus side, five films pulling in over $10M is a bigger deal than it seems. We only saw this once last year, on the weekend of July 4th. To have already matched that is encouraging indeed.
Avatar Still Rules the Roost
While there was a 32% fall for Avatar 2, it is still performing at an impressive rate. Though I’d still describe it’s performance as ‘top-end blockbuster’ rather than global phenomenon, it is traveling at almost $2B internationally, so can hardly be described as a poor showing!
M3GAN also saw a drop (41%), but that’s actually an excellent hold for the horror genre. This film should easily cross the finish line with at least $100M of its own in the kitty domestically, on top of international performance.
Rounding out the Top 5 we have Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, down only 1% despite being in its second week on streaming services. A Man Called Otto pulled in $12.6M, much more than expected from a film that seemed dead after a weak debut, so we have to infer strong word of mouth there. Oddly, despite no awards attention, it has already grossed more than any of the ‘mature audience’ contenders. Plane earned straight-up $10M. Not spectacular as films go, but symbolic of exactly what the theatrical industry needs to see a lot more of to return to pre-COVID peaks.
Overall, we see a strong 39% increase on last year’s figures for this key weekend, and 30% improvement in grosses year-to-date. While it’s not a weekend to get over-excited about, these do represent consistent growth and improvement on the pandemic era, and a solid sign of potential to come. As we’ve said more than once, however, the state of the 2023 Box Office will greatly depend on a continuous stream of solid titles alongside blockbusters to theater screens. With the pandemic pipeline interruptions behind us, there’s no real reason we shouldn’t see that this year. So let’s hope this is the start of considerably greater things all around.