Despite the success of Avatar: The Way of Water, the Christmas moviegoing experience in North America has been dampened by a severe weather system known as Storm Elliott. Freezing temperatures, severe winds, snow, and ice have hit a large portion of the nation as a result of the bomb cyclone. As is customary, the Christmas season is a boon for business for Hollywood studios and theater owners.
This year, however, is different due to a combination of factors including a less packed lineup, Storm Elliott, and persistent worries about COVID-19, the flu, and RSV. It’s also unfortunate when Christmas and Christmas Eve both happen on Sunday. To rephrase, studios are already planning for next week to make up for lost revenue.
Christmas weekend earnings might be down as much as 50 percent compared to 2019 (before the pandemic hit) and as much as 33 percent compared to 2021, which is bad news for the box office’s bottom line. With just $34.4 million in sales, Christmas Day 2019 was the poorest performing day in at least two decades (excluding 2020) according to Comscore. To put it in perspective, on December 25 of last year, sales totaled $58.1 million.
With an anticipated total of $82 million (rivals have it higher) from Friday through Monday at 4,202 theaters in North America, 20th Century Fox and Disney’s Avatar 2 will comfortably win the four-day holiday weekend. On Sunday, the big-budget tentpole earned $253.7 million in the United States and $855.4 million worldwide.
After two weeks in theaters, Monday will be the point at which the global total will have reached or surpassed $900 million. The Way of Water earned an impressive $168.6 million during the Christmas holiday (three days) at international box offices, bringing its international total to $601.7 million as of Sunday. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, co-produced by DreamWorks Animation and Universal, debuted midweek to an A CinemaScore and is expected to earn $17.8 million in its first four days in a release from 4,099 theaters and $24.7 million in its first six.
The anticipated opening for the family film was between $30 and $35 million. The sector as a whole is still recovering from the epidemic, and its performance highlights persistent anxiety about the health of the family market. Since The Last Wish has so little competition in the coming weeks, Universal is certain it will have a successful run at the box office. Earning $32.5 million internationally as of Monday, The Last Wish is on track for a worldwide total of $57.2 million.
Whitney Houston’s: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (TriStar) and Babylon (Paramount) are both floundering at the box office. On Friday, both movies were released to the public. Six million to seven million dollars from 3,625 theaters in its first weekend is what studios are anticipating for I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Sony insiders believe that number could climb higher).
Avatar 2 is literally the best movie experience I've ever had. pic.twitter.com/8HVYvGQkEs
— Carlos 💌 (@CarlosLynn0) December 17, 2022
Fans agreed with critics, giving the Whitney Houston biography an A CinemaScore. A meager $2.6 million was made from the first 31 overseas markets for I Wanna Dance With Somebody at the box office. After receiving a C+ CinemaScore, Paramount’s star-studded Babylon is looking like a massive failure unless it improves significantly over the course of the next week. A four-day opening of $5.3 million from 3,343 theaters is expected for Damien Chazelle’s period Hollywood film, which stretches north of three hours (like Avatar 2).
Over the holiday season, 603 theaters across the country will show The Whale, making it the highest-grossing independent film ever. The four-day opening weekend for the A24 picture is projected to bring in about $1.4 million. On Friday, eight cinemas released Women Talking, a film by Sarah Polley that has received widespread critical praise.
Freezing weather in important markets like New York is undoubtedly affecting the MGM and UAR picture, as they are with a plethora of other films. After four days, the picture should have made $53,000, which is an average of $6,664 per theater. The three New York and Los Angeles theaters where Sony Pictures Classics’ Living debuted made an estimated $17,300 in four days, with a per-screen average of around $7,078.
Even if Avatar: The Way of Water did well at the box office, Storm Elliott has ruined Christmas moviegoing in North America. The bomb cyclone brought subzero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, snow, and ice to a vast section of the United States. It is a well-known fact that the holiday season is a boom time for the entertainment industry in Hollywood.
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