Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Another Week, Another Win for Wakanda Forever

The Marvel movie led the traditionally slow weekend for a fourth straight week atop the box office, followed by the cheeky holiday action flick Violent Night.

by | December 5, 2022 | Comments


The post-Thanksgiving weekend has never been a great one for theaters. The studios tend to ignore it, given that it is typically a big comedown from the theatrical stuffings that moviegoers gorge themselves on over the previous week. Given the state of play and all the disappointments (and outright bombs) to come out of this year’s holiday, the glass-half-full perspective is that it’s not as much of a comedown as it could have been. A three-quarters-full way of looking at it is that the top 10 in the first weekend of December has never broken $100 million; 2017 nearly got there with $96.7 million with Coco leading the charge. On the other hand, barely scraping by with $48.9 million made this the fifth-worst first weekend of December since 1990.

King of the Crop: Another Week, Another Win for Wakanda Forever 

The clear winner for the fourth straight week, of course, is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. A 61% drop to $17.5 million this weekend still has it on a path to reach $400 million when it leads the way for a fifth straight week before Avatar begins its multi-week run at No. 1. $393.7 million is the 19th highest total after 24 days, ahead of The Dark Knight Rises and about $12 million behind Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is now starting to lag behind that Marvel title a bit as Ultron grossed $21.6 million in its fourth frame, while The Dark Knight Rises grossed $18.9 million. Wakanda Forever is hoping to take advantage of some small drops and decent weekdays once Christmas vacation takes effect in a few weeks. That should likely keep it in a window between $445-455 million domestic. As the film zooms past $700 million worldwide, it will be into profit fairly soon. It may just miss becoming one of the top 20 domestic grossers of all time, but it is certainly another winner for Marvel financially.

Rotten Returns: Strange World May Suffer Bigger Loss Than Anticipated

Disney will continue to dominate the King of the Crop section in the foreseeable future but they need a second week in this category for Strange World. Dropping 59.5% down to $4.9 million brings its total to only $25.5 million after 10 days. There is just no good way to spin this for a production with a low-end number of $135 million and a high-end of $180 million. Right now, Strange World is barely beating Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which had $24.99 million after 10 days and a $5.6 million second weekend. Even if it holds up better the next few weeks, that is still only lands it between $35-40 million. The losses on this one could be much deeper than had been initially reported.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Violent Night Debuts in Second, The Menu Sticks Around

If nothing else, Violent Night can take away this little nugget: It is just the 16th film since 1980 to gross more than $10 million opening in the first week of December ($13.3 million to be precise). That is more than Eddie Murphy in The Distinguished Gentlemen, Sylvester Stallone in Daylight, Gus Van Sant’s Psycho remake, and Warren Beatty’s Oscar-winning Reds. In fairness, with inflation, all those numbers would be higher. Reds would be somewhere closer to $34 million today, just behind leader Ocean’s Eleven’s 2001 opening total of $38.1 million. Granted, these aren’t quite Krampus numbers ($16.2 million) when that PG-13 film opened in 2015 and went on to make over $42 million. But the $20 million-budgeted Violent Night could still be looking at a $35+ million domestic haul if it doesn’t drop off the way Aeon Flux and Psycho did. Violent Night is also the third best R-rated film to open December behind The Last Samurai ($24.2 million) and Beverly Hills Cop ($15.2 million)

Searchlight’s The Menu continues to intrigue people, remaining in fourth this week with $3.4 million. That brings its total to $24.7 million. The last three Searchlight films to gross as much were Oscar-winners Jojo Rabbit and The Favourite, as well as Ready or Not, a one-location setting about a murderous game and the blonde woman trying to survive it. Hmmm. The Menu is also going to outgross Sony’s Devotion, which fell 52.6% to $2.79 million and a total of $13.8 million. This is another film potentially looking at a $100+ million loss on the books, the studio’s biggest loser since the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot. Not to be left behind in the loss department, WB’s Black Adam will now lose less than $100 million, but it is still going to be a lot with just $165 million domestic and $384 million worldwide. The DCEU hasn’t had a winner since the release of Shazam! in 2019.

The third best per-theater average ($2,036) in the top 10 belonged to Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, which is of little consolation to the film that has grossed just $5.5 million to date with another $1.29 million this week. An awards expansion cannot come soon enough for it. Bones and All already played that card, and it is not paying off, as it had the worst PTA in the top 10 ($436). Its grand total after another $1.19 million is just over $6 million. Meanwhile, Fathom Events got the faith-based crowd to show up for I Heard The Bells, which finished sixth over the weekend with $1.81 million in 955 theaters.

On the Vine: Oscar Hopefuls Empire of Light and The Whale Hit Theaters

Searchlight is giving it another go by opening Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light wide; it’s the only new wide release of the week. This is not going to draw the same kind of awards attention that The Banshees of Inisherin will, but can it possibly outgross it? Then, in limited release, we will look at the numbers for Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale with Best Actor frontrunner Brendan Fraser. It will open wider a few weeks later.

Full List of Box Office Results: December 2-4, 2022

  • $17.6 million ($393.7 million total)

  • $13.3 million ($13.3 million total)

  • $4.9 million ($25.5 million total)

  • $3.6 million ($24.7 million total)

  • $2.8 million ($13.8 million total)

  • $1.8 million ($1.8 million total)

  • $1.67 million ($165.2 million total)

  • $1.3 million ($5.6 million total)

  • $1.2 million ($6 million total)

  • $849,925 ($66.5 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by Annette Brown/©Marvel Studios

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