DON'T WORRY DARLING opening | AVATAR re-release and AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER | September 23 to 25, 2022 weekend
Opening weekend box office, charts and commentary
The current weekend: September 23 to 25, 2022
1) Don't Worry Darling opening
- This is a very good opening, above average for an original romantic mystery. Critics have never been kind to romantic mysteries, and that's the case here (numbers below). It's part of the equation — it comes with these movies' edge and controversy. For some critics, it’s a reaction to it. But the net effect at the box office is neutral-to-positive, not negative.
- Romantic mysteries are not strong performers overseas, but Don’t Worry Darling’s young, international cast should help the movie over-perform abroad:
- Don't Worry Darling is another strong original story that's connecting with a broad audience. This year has had Elvis, Bullet Train, The Lost City, Nope, The Black Phone, Where the Crawdads Sing, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Woman King, and several solid low-budget horror pics. These movies thread the needle with strong ideas, storytelling, casting, execution and marketing — there’s little margin for error. Audiences have been responding. The current challenge is the low volume of releases, especially big series films, not the quality or appeal of the movies.
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2) Avatar re-release opening
- This is a fair opening, at below average levels for a wide re-release. Bear in mind, Avatar did not open to record numbers in 2009, it opened to $77 million domestically and then played to extraordinary multiples everywhere — 9.87x domestically, which is unheard of for a movie of this size. Even the recent Top Gun 2, which has played for months, will finish somewhere below a 6x domestic multiple. Avatar remains the all-time, worldwide box office champ at $2.847 billion:
- There have been only 21 wide re-releases during the last 25 year, fewer than one per year, and every one of them is elite. The list includes four Star Wars films, Titanic, The Lion King and Jurassic Park. They return to theaters with an upgraded picture & sound (3D), or with a softer MPAA rating (PG-13 for Deadpool 2 and The King's Speech), or on an anniversary.
- For Avatar, 13 years is a relatively short period between releases (the average is 18.5 years), and this is the first re-release for marketing purposes. But after 13 years, we’re in a different world now, where superheroes dominate the fantasy action space. Avatar: The Way of Water will certainly open big, but in order to land on top-10 box office lists, it's going to need repeat viewing and legs. It’s going to need to engage and expand audiences’ imagination the way the first film did. Based on early materials and trailers, it looks promising.
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