Last year in January, it was movies like “American Underdog” and “The 355” fighting for relative scraps. Now? We’ve got “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” “A Man Called Otto,” and “M3GAN” all putting butts in seats and taking in well over $6 million each on the same weekend. That’s where the industry is winning out right now in a big, bad way compared to both 2021 and 2022. Audiences are being served a wide array of options and, wouldn’t you know it, those audiences are showing up.
The biggest thing we’re seeing on a weekend like this most recent one is movies arriving to serve underserved audiences, making for a wide array of diverse programming to bring out all sorts of moviegoers. For example, we also had “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist,” a heavy-handed religious film starring Kevin Sorbo that, with right next to no mainstream advertising, took in $2.36 million, good enough for the number nine spot. It nearly managed to beat “Infinity Pool” ($2.72 million), one of the weekend’s more high-profile new releases.
Then there’s the Chinese sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth II,” the sequel to the 2019 flick that earned a hair shy of $700 million (mostly in China). It managed to sneak into the top ten with $1.35 million. Last year at this time, the #10 spot went to “West Side Story” with $573,000. We’re in much better shape now, clearly.
As even further evidence of that, stuff outside of the top ten served all sorts of audiences, such as “Billie Eilish Live at the 02,” which earned $1.29 million on just 600 screens. Not to mention the viral, ultra-low-budget horror sensation “Skinamarkink,” which added another $124,000 this weekend. It all adds up to a far healthier theatrical marketplace, and a rosier outlook for 2023, overall.