M3gan Goes After Avatar

Movie about evil doll does well, but can't overtake the James Cameron flick
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 8, 2023 1:15 PM CST
Avatar Keeps M3gan at Bay
This image released by 20th Century Studios shows Sigourney Weaver, as Kiri, in a scene from "Avatar: The Way of Water."   (20th Century Studios via AP)

The Blumhouse evil-doll horror film M3gan got off to a killer start, debuting with $30.2 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates, while Avatar: The Way of Water continued its box-office reign in the top spot. Universal Pictures' M3gan, about a robot companion built for a young girl after her parents are killed in a car accident, rode strong buzz and viral dancing memes to an above-expectations debut. In the low-budget slasher, starring Allison Williams, Blumhouse and producer James Wan crafted Hollywood's first hit of the new year, likely spawning a new high-concept horror franchise, the AP reports.

Audiences gave the PG-13 film a "B" CinemaScore—though reviews (94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) were stronger for the modern, techy twist on a Child's Play-like thriller. It added $10 million internationally. But while M3gan drew audiences largely in 2D showings, large-format screens continued to be soaked up by James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water. The 3-D, three-hour sequel remained No. 1 for the fourth straight week in US and Canadian theaters with $45 million in sales. Cameron's sci-fi spectacle has now surpassed $500 million domestically and $1.7 billion globally. Below are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore:

  1. Avatar: The Way of Water, $45 million.
  2. M3gan, $30.2 million.
  3. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, $13.1 million.
  4. A Man Called Otto, $4.2 million.
  5. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, $4 million.
  6. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, $2.4 million.
  7. The Whale, $1.5 million.
  8. Babylon, $1.4 million.
  9. Violent Night, $740,000.
  10. The Menu, $713,000.
(Read more box office stories.)

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