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Horror movie ‘M3gan’ gets a killer start as ‘Avatar’ remains #1

The low-budget horror film about a young girl’s robot companion created buzz and Internet memes and debuted for $30.2 million.

NEW YORK — Blumhouse’s horror movie M3gan, about sinister dolls, 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 to lead the box office. first place.

Universal Pictures’ M3gan, about a robotic companion created for a young girl after her parents die in a car crash, sparked a buzz and viral dance memes for a debut that surpassed all expectations. In the low-budget slasher film starring Allison Williams, Blumhouse and producer James Wan created the first Hollywood hit of the new year, likely spawning a new conceptual horror franchise.

Audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore rating of PG-13, although reviews (94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) were stronger for a modern, technological interpretation of the Child’s Play-like thriller. This added $10 million internationally.

But while “M3gan” attracted audiences mainly with 2D screenings, widescreen screens continued to engulf James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of the Water. The three-hour 3D sequel remained No. 1 for the fourth straight week in theaters in the United States and Canada with $45 million in sales.

Cameron’s sci-fi production has already surpassed $500 million domestically and $1.7 billion worldwide. After dominating a boring holiday corridor, the Avatar sequel nearly matches the pace of the original; 2009’s Avatar made $50.3 million in its fourth weekend. The Way of the Water is already the seventh highest-grossing film of all time, excluding inflation, thanks largely to its strong overseas releases. The film’s international ticket sales are $1.2 billion more than any film released since the start of the pandemic.

M3gan was the only new film in wide release, although Sony Pictures’ The Man Named Otto, starring Tom Hanks, was shown in 637 theaters after its initial release in four theaters. The film, which is a remake of Swedish film A Man Called Uwe, grossed a solid $4.2 million ahead of its nationwide release on Friday.

Third place went to Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with $13.1 million in its third week of release. The Universal Pictures animated sequel grossed $87.7 million in three weeks, plus $109.7 million internationally.

While many award contenders have struggled at the box office in recent months, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale proved to be a modest exception. The indie series A24, starring Brendan Fraser, ranked seventh in its fifth week of release with $1.5 million for a total of $8.6 million – a solid gross for a movie that cost about $3 million to make.

Estimated Friday through Sunday ticket sales in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final internal data will be published on Monday.

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 want to dance with someone”, $ 2.4 million.

7. The Whale, $1.5 million

8. Babylon, $1.4 million

9. Cruel Night, $740,000

10. Menu, $713,000

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