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House Party Flops As Avatar: The Way Of Water Wins The Weekend Box Office Again

CinemaBlend 1/15/2023 Eric Eisenberg
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Last week, the box office news was joyous as not only did James Cameron's Avatar: The Way Of Water continue to sell a whole lot of tickets worldwide, but Gerard Johnstone's M3GAN far exceeded expectations and premiered as an instant hit. Part of the reason why this was exciting was because January is notoriously a slow month for movies... which is a reputation that got fortified over the last three days.

The latest box office numbers are in, and though Avatar: The Way Of Water and M3GAN continue to perform well, the news on the new release front is bleak, as Calmatic's House Party has flopped badly, and Jean-François Richet's Plane starring Gerard Butler was forced to settle for fifth place. Check out the full Top 10 below and join me after for analysis.

House Party And Plane Fail To Inspire More Excitement Than What Has Already Been Playing In Theaters

A few months ago, House Party was the subject of some interesting buzz. Amidst news of turmoil behind the scenes at Warner Bros. that notably saw the nearly completed Batgirl movie thrown into a vault, it was reported that the studio had pivoted distribution plans for the comedy remake. While the original plan was to have the LeBron James/Maverick Carter-produced feature debut as a HBO Max exclusive, the decision was made to make it a theatrical release.

This was a move that seemingly showed that the studio had confidence in the title as a lure for movie-goers... but now, after a minimal marketing campaign, the film has turned out to be a flop.

According to an early report from The Numbers, House Party has made less than $4 million in its first three days – good enough for just sixth place. The plus side is that the movie wasn't exactly made with an exorbitant budget, but it also doesn't look like this is a film that could possibly show some legs in coming weeks. There isn't exactly a whole lot of buzz for the film, as indicated by less-than-stellar takes from critics (you can read my opinion in my review for CinemaBlend), and it presently has a marginal 61 percent Audience Score from Rotten Tomatoes.

If Warner Bros. had hopes of the movie spawning a 21st century House Party trilogy to pair with the original from the 1990s, these results have surely proven to be a giant bucket of ice water.

If there is any beneficiary from House Party's dismal box office performance, it's certainly Plane, as comparison between the two makes the Gerard Butler vehicle look like a critically acclaimed smash hit. Unlike its fellow new release, the action film actually got a positive reception from critics (it's presently rocking a 73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and signs point to it finishing its first three days with an eight figure haul. 

The result is on the high end of what predictions suggested Plane would make in its opening weekend (Deadline predicted a total between $7-10 million), though its fifth place finish indicates that audiences were more drawn to the films that have already been playing in theaters over the last few weeks.

M3GAN Has An Impressive Second Weekend, Adding Another $17 Million To Its Domestic Earnings

One of the films drawing audiences away from Plane is M3GAN, which has proven to be a legitimate box office juggernaut with its second weekend. In 2022, those who follow box office news witnessed plenty of movies turn out to be majorly frontloaded  – indicated by weekend-to-weekend drops of about 70 percent after their debuts. The new horror movie from producers James Wan and Jason Blum, however, has seen positive buzz turn into sustained success. 

After making over $30 million in its first Friday-to-Sunday stretch, M3GAN has now made another $17 million in its second (a 41 percent weekend-to-weekend drop).

At present, the movie's domestic haul stands at $56.5 million... and the picture only looks rosier when you add ticket sales from abroad into the mix. The hit has been doing quite well overseas, and adding in those earnings puts the film's worldwide total at $90.7 million. Considering that this is a film that cost a relatively minimal $12 million to produce (per Vulture), it's now safe to say that it's a bona fide hit, and it should continue to do quite well for at least the rest of January thanks to minimal competition.

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish Quietly Passes $100 Million Domestically

In last week's box office column, I made a specific point of highlighting Joel Crawford's Puss In Boots: The Last Wish – which had only dropped 19 percent from its previous weekend and successfully brought in an eight-figure haul for its third weekend in a row. This week I highlight it again, as it continues to do remarkably well in the shadow of Avatar: The Way Of Water

The amount of money that the DreamWorks Animation hit brought in over the last three days is just a one percent – yes, one percent – drop compared to its performance  from January 6 to January 8. That's pretty remarkable, and it has allowed the film to cross $100 million domestically. 

Adding in the $141.1 million its made from theaters outside of the United States and Canada and Puss In Boots: The Last Wish has to date made $247.4 million. It won't become the insane hit that its predecessor was (Chris Miller's Puss In Boots made $555 million back in 2011), but it's doing pretty damn well by 2022/2023 standards.

Looking ahead to next week, the films presently playing on the big screen around the country are going to start competing with just one brand new movie in wide release: Nick Johnson and Will Merrick's Missing, which is an anthology sequel to Aneesh Chaganty's Searching, which made $75.5 million worldwide during its run on the big screen in 2018. Head back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to see how the Top 10 gets shaken up, and check out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar to learn about all of the titles scheduled to debut in the next 12 months.

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