Four Movies Perform Well Under Long ‘Avatar 2’ Weekend Box Office Shadow

20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water, the pricey sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 all-time box office behemoth Avatar, continues to dominate movie theaters, generating $31.1 million in ticket sales through Jan. 15. With another $7 million-plus in revenue projected over Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 16), the movie is approaching $1.9 billion in ticket sales after five weeks of release across more than 4,000 screens.

At the same time, a group of movies — Universal Pictures’ horror thriller M3GAN, animated family film Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Sony Pictures’ sentimental comedy A Man Called Otto, and Lionsgate’s Gerard Butler actioner Plane — all performed above expectations.

M3GAN, about a lifelike play doll with issues, sold more than $17 million worth of tickets in its second weekend, to push the Allison Williams-starrer near $61 million in revenue worldwide. Puss in Boots 2, follow-up to the 2011 original, added a projected $17+ million in ticket sales through MLK Day, upping its North American total to $110 million.

Otto, starring Tom Hanks as a lovable widowed senior citizen dealing with 21st Century reality, projects another $15 million in revenue through Jan. 16, upping its two-week tally near $25 million.

Finally, new releases, Plane and erstwhile HBO Max original movie reboot House Party, which was instead released theatrically, realized divergent box office results.

Plane took in a better-than-expected four-day estimate of $11.6 million, while playing at more than 3,000 screens in North America. The movie had been tracking an opening of less than $10 million.
 
The film was acquired for release in North America, Latin America, the U.K., and India. In North America, according to PostTrak, the opening weekend audience was 55% male, 77% older than 25 years-of-age.
 
Butler remains one of the world’s most reliable action stars, and Plane didn’t disappoint, generating a strong audience response during test screenings and 95% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes.
 
House Party, a Warner Bros. Pictures’ reboot of the 1990s trilogy, failed to attract party-minded  moviegoers, generating a projected $4.5 million in revenue through Jan. 16. The comedy, which finds two well-meaning janitorial newbies unknowingly tasked with cleaning NBA superstar LeBron James’ mansion, saw a 25% Rotten Tomatoes critics score on social media.