Universal’s ‘M3GAN’ Thriller Debut Doesn’t Disappoint; ‘Avatar 2’ Reaches $1.7 Billion Global Box Office

Don’t underestimate life-like dolls named M3GAN. That’s the lesson imparted on moviegoers as the eponymous Universal Pictures/Blumhouse Productions horror film generated an estimated $30 million in ticket sales ($45 million globally) to stay near ongoing theatrical champ Avatar: The Way of Water, which generated another $45 million in revenue from ticket sales through the Jan. 8 weekend.

Director James Cameron’s follow-up to his 2009 Avatar has now sold about $1.7 billion worth of tickets worldwide to reach No. 7 in all-time revenue.

M3GAN is the brainchild of a well-meaning robotics engineering aunt (Get Out!‘s Allison Williams), who creates the doll as a companion/chaperone to her niece following the death of the young girl’s parents. M3GAN, of course, takes the role of bodyguard to the extreme.

The movie benefited from strong word-of-mouth, social media reviews (94% Rotten Tomatoes score) and marketing that included a team of M3GAN dancers performing halftime at a Los Angeles Rams/Los Angeles Chargers football game in December to a Taylor Swift song. The result: A strong Jan. 5 sneak preview revenue exceeding $2.7 million.

M3GAN had an incredible debut this weekend and rightly so, certainly not surprising that a collaboration between Blumhouse and James Wan’s Atomic Monster would produce such a fun, creepy, thrilling story,” Jim Orr, president of domestic theatrical distribution at Universal Pictures, said in a media statement.

Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish rounded out the weekend box office podium with $13.1 million, to up its global tally near $200 million.

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