Box Office Breakdown: “Wakanda Forever” holds onto first as “Violent Night” joins the fight 

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The reign continues. 

After three weeks on top the charts, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” continues that streak, earning another $17.6 million to take its domestic total to $393 million. Unfortunately, this was a 61.4% drop from last weekend, which is a substantial fourth weekend drop. Steep drops were not uncommon this week, as consumers have their eyes set on the holiday season, but 61% is high for “Wakanda Forever.” With “Avatar: The Way of Water” coming in two weeks, the film needed to round out its box office run in successful fashion. Unfortunately, with this dive this past weekend, “Wakanda Forever”’s chances at clearing $450 million domestically are severely hurt. The film will likely end near $445 million domestically which is still a successful total, but not as strong as we previously predicted. 

“Violent Night” joined the charts this week in festive fashion, with the action-comedy opening to $13.3 million. With only a $20 million production budget, the film needs to clear around $86 million worldwide to breakeven, with around $52 million of that being domestic earnings. While a $13.3 million opening doesn’t make that a likely possibility, there are a few factors in the film’s favor. For one, “Violent Night” surrounds Santa Claus and the Christmas holiday. With little competition in the holiday genre theatrically, “Violent Night” is in position for a solid next few weeks. Combined with that a “B+” CinemaScore and the relatively stronger legs of the comedy genre, the film has a chance to reach that breakeven total. That being said, I think “Violent Night” will close around $40 million domestically. 

In third place is the animated film “Strange World” continuing its descent, earning only $4.9 million in its second weekend. With only $25.5 million earned domestically and a 59.5% drop this weekend, “Strange World”’s box office run is coming to a quick close. As we mentioned last week, this is shaping to be a $175+ million loss for Walt Disney Animation. That being said, perhaps this was intended to be a streaming film all along. 

In fourth and fifth place this weekend are “The Menu” and “Devotion” which earned $3.55 million and $2.75 million this weekend, respectively. “The Menu” had the best hold this weekend, falling only 35% to increase its domestic total to $24.6 million. As we mentioned last week, the film needs to clear around $60 million domestically to break even (due to marketing costs and a $30 million production budget). That is not looking likely at this point, though at least “The Menu” and Searchlight Pictures can take strong critical reception to the bank. “Devotion” fell 53% this week to push its domestic total to $13.75 million. Unfortunately, as we stated last week, the film is on track to lose $75-80 million due to its $90 million production budget and ancillary expenses. 

Next week brings no new wide releases, as the box office gears up for the opening of “Avatar: The Way of Water” in two weeks time on Dec. 16. The original film became the highest grossing film of all-time in 2009, a title which it still holds to this day (the title was traded with “Avengers: Endgame” briefly between 2019 and 2021). We shall see if the sequel can defeat the original. 

This is our final Box Office Breakdown until after winter break, I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season with your family, friends and loved ones. 

While this column is taking a brief pause, the box office will not be. It hasn’t been the smoothest year, but 2022 brought much needed stability to the theatrical marketplace. By the time we return, Avatar-mania will likely be in full swing, perhaps we will have another $2 billion worldwide film by then. 

As always, we shall see. Until then, let’s all sit back, relax and enjoy the show. 

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