With fairly little competition from new releases, it was another very interesting weekend at the box office. Each film on the charts had solid holds, along with a surprise second place finisher.
In its third weekend, “Black Adam” earned another $18.5 million to push its domestic total to $137 million. This was a 32.6% drop, which is quite good for a third weekend of release, especially for a superhero film. That being said, that sort of hold was expected (and very much needed) for “Black Adam.” Little competition was faced this weekend and the film needed to take advantage of this window of opportunity to increase its profits. Competition will be mounting next week with the release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” which will most certainly hurt the film’s future grosses due to genre crossover. Unfortunately, as we have stated in previous weeks, the film needed to earn $650 million worldwide (of which about $295 million would be domestic) to break even, which it will not reach. With this week’s gross and oncoming fellow superhero competition, “Black Adam”’s run at the box office is coming to a close.
In second place is a new release that I was not aware of – “One Piece Film: Red”. The anime film was released in Japan in August, becoming the highest grossing Japanese film of 2022. Anime films have been doing very well in North America in recent years, as streaming has increased awareness of the genre. Films such as “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” and “Jujutsu Kaisen 0” have placed in the top five of the domestic charts in recent years, which is a big step. “One Piece Film: Red” adds its name to that list, earning $9.48 million in its opening weekend. With no public budgetary data we cannot estimate profitability, but with over $141 million earned worldwide thus far, there is a good chance that “One Piece Film: Red” has profited Toei Animation a significant sum.
In third place is the romantic comedy “Ticket to Paradise” which fell only 13.2% to gross $8.55 million in its third weekend. This pushed its domestic total to $46.7 million. As we mentioned in past weeks, the film needs to earn around $222 million worldwide (of which about $111 million is domestic) to break even. Though this is still a tall, and most likely impossible task, a 13.2% drop is quite impressive. The box office strength of the comedy genre (which had trouble theatrically in recent years) is in its legs. Comedies that strike a chord in audiences can last on charts for months, and accumulate sizable revenues in that time period. While “Ticket to Paradise” will also have to fight “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” for theatergoers next weekend in the PG-13 demographic, perhaps it can continue to hold. We shall see, but I expect the film to end up earning around $75 million domestically.
Fourth and fifth this weekend were occupied by horror films “Smile” and “Prey for the Devil” which earned $3.98 million and $3.89 million respectively. “Smile” has now grossed $99 million domestically and will cross the $100 million mark during the week, which is incredible for a film with only a $17 million budget. “Prey for the Devil” fell 45.8% in its second weekend. This is not a bad drop for a horror film, but with the lack of competition and the utter decimation of fellow horror films like “Halloween Ends” (which was ninth on the charts this weekend), it does not bode well for its future. “Prey for the Devil” may be heading for the box office underworld next weekend.
This weekend brings the release of the Marvel film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The first “Black Panther” had an insane opening, earning $242 million domestically over the four-day President’s Day weekend. As the first predominantly black ensemble cast superhero film, there was much anticipation for the first film four years ago. With the tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman in 2020, it was up in the air whether or not this sequel would even be produced. We are now just a few days away from release and all prognostication points to “Wakanda Forever” having the largest domestic opening of 2022 thus far. I predict the film will earn $212 million next weekend, giving the box office a much needed boost for these final two months of 2022.
But we shall see, will “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” cement itself among box office royalty?