Weekend Box Office: Violent Night over-performs while Black Panther tops for a fourth week in a row

It was the battle everyone was waiting for: Santa Claus vs The Black Panther with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever emerging victorious in its fourth week of release with an estimated $17.5 million. But the battle was closer than expected as in our original predictions we saw Wakanda going over $20 million for the weekend. Perhaps this is a sign that some box office fatigue is setting in on the Marvel sequel. As well as topping the box office for a month straight, the film is being discussed as a potential Best Picture nominee. Whether it has the potential to be an awards player will come into focus over the next few weeks as some of the major award shows begin revealing their nominees. Even though the film has been received fairly well, including that rare 10/10 review from our own JimmyO, I’m not sure a Best Picture nomination is in this movie’s future, but again, the next few weeks will be telling on the momentum the film has.

Black Panther Wakanda Forever

Second place belongs to Violent Night with an estimated $13.3 million. I’m going to count that as a win for our predictions as most places pegged the movie between $10-12 million but I knew it could get to around that $14 million mark! The good news is that exit polls are strong and as more and more adults get burnt out from that holiday shopping, they may decide to stop in at the movies for a few kid free hours and a nice Violent Night. Having saw (and thoroughly enjoyed) the movie last week, I can say that if you are in the mood for essentially a re-make of Die Hard with Santa, this is your movie! Add in the true R rated version of Home Alone so many of us have been waiting for, and you have a genuinely good time at the theater! 

Losing 60% of its audience is Disney’s Strange World with an estimated weekend take of $4.9 million and a running total of $25.5. Anyway you slice it, this film is a massive bomb for the studio. There will be a lot of talk about what ultimately made this movie tank so hard, but it really just all boils down to the fact that the trailer didn’t look very good. Whether the actual movie is good is all in the hands of the viewer (I have yet to see it) but reviews (including one from our own JimmyO) seem to have been on the positive side. 

Coming in fourth and fifth place is the one two punch of The Menu (with $3.5 million for the weekend, dropping just 35% of its audience) and Devotion (with $2.8 million for the weekend, dropping 52% of its audience). I am glad audiences seem to be seeking out The Menu as that one will definitely be on my year end Top Five list. It is one of the most original films I have ever seen and the theater experience really added to it for me with the entire audience glued to the screen. Devotion is another really good, big screen experience. The aerial shots are quite amazing. Add to it two amazing performances and you have a film that I wish more people were seeking out.

Sixth place sees the Fathom Events holiday release of I Heard The Bells with $1.8 million. As I said in my predictions, these smaller films tend to have solid opening weekend as the targeted audiences tend to come out for them. The Christmas theme should have this one do decent business over the next few weeks.

The rest of the Top 10 consists of holdovers including Black Adam ($1.6 million), The Fabelmans ($1.3 million), Bones and All ($1.1 million) and Ticket To Paradise ($850,000). So let’s talk about The Fabelmans. Right now it is the front runner for this years Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director (with nominations likely for Michelle Williams and even Judd Hirsch). So why aren’t audiences going to see this one in theaters? This is the second bomb in a row for Spielberg after last years West Side Story which did go on to box office gold. The film has solid reviews (including one from our own Chris Bumbray) and a good audience score. I guess people just don’t think this one is worth rushing out to see in theaters. For all the bad things the pandemic caused, to focus just on the world of movies, one of the biggest tragedies is that audiences grew accustomed to watching films in their own homes and that is having a major effect on more Drama oriented films like the Oscar contenders Fabelmans, Till and Tár.

The real question is: How much money could Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery have made this weekend if Netflix actually embraced theaters?!

Did you make it out to theaters this weekend? If so what did you see? And don’t forget to check out this weeks poll where we ask what The Worst Movie of 2022 was.

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