Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is poised to cross $550 million worldwide after two weekends in theaters, adding $67.3 million domestically and $69.8 million in retail. international to bring its worldwide total to $546.3 million.
Elsewhere on the charts, Universal’s “She Said” bombed hard with just $2.25 million opening in 2,022 theaters, failing to enter the top 5. The $32 million inquest drama of the New York Times on Harvey Weinstein suffered one of the worst openings for a film in more than 2,000 theaters since the start of the pandemic.
Let’s start with “Wakanda Forever,” which fell 63% from its $181 million opening weekend. Although it is significantly worse than the exceptional 44% decrease than the first “Black Panther” recorded in February 2018, that’s better than the 67% drop taken by “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” after opening to $187.4 million last May. “Multiverse of Madness” had a two-weekend total of $291.9 million domestically and $688 million worldwide, which puts “Wakanda Forever” just 1% behind domestically but 21% behind in the world.
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“Wakanda Forever” is expected to have a third stronger weekend in North America than “Multiverse of Madness” thanks to Thanksgiving weekend, although it still expects a final worldwide total of around $800 million due weaker performance abroad. The competition for the attention of foreign moviegoers since the FIFA World Cup and later since the release of “Avatar: The Way of the Water” will likely continue to weigh on this film’s performance.
“She Said,” meanwhile, flopped theatrically in a way that few other post-arrest films have. Denzel Washington’s “A Journal for Jordan,” an inspirational film released by Sony on a Christmas Saturday in 2,500 theaters and which grossed just $2.5 million in its first three days of release, is the one of the few major recent studio films to bomb so hard. rising to just $6.5 million domestically gross during the COVID-19 Omicron surge.
“She Said” got the majority of its meager audience from older demographics, with Universal reporting that 61% of audiences were over 35. Those who saw it also praised it with an A on CinemaScore to go along with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 88% from critics and 83% from audience.
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But critical acclaim hasn’t been enough to significantly boost interest in prestige dramas that tackle tough subject matter. Films like Focus Features’ “Tár” and United Artists’ “Till” did moderately better in limited and targeted release than their underperforming counterparts last year, but like “She Said” still perform well below what was seen before the pandemic. Whether it’s moviegoers with a greater emphasis on escapism or interested audiences just waiting for these dramas to stream, a significant portion of the pre-pandemic box office has been slow to return and may not return. -be never.
The indie and specialty films that are happening have managed to attract younger audiences, like Searchlight’s “The Menu” which opened to a respectable $9 million in 3,211 theaters and holds No. 2 this weekend. Searchlight reports strong attendance at 18-35 demos in New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, with the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn being the top-performing theater.
Starring Ralph Fiennes in a horror satire on the world of food, “The Menu” earned strong reviews from TIFF with a 90% Rotten Tomatoes score. But perhaps the biggest boost for the film came from its screening at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest, where it won the People’s Choice Award. Like Paramount’s “Smile”, Fantastic Fest has become a key platform for original horror moviesexposing new titles to hardcore fans of the genre and helping these films build word-of-mouth that helps them stand out among young moviegoers as exciting blockbuster alternatives.
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Fathom Events’ “The Chosen” also hits theaters this weekend, a limited-engagement screening of the first two episodes of the crowdfunded streaming Christian show’s upcoming third season. Based on the life and ministry of Jesus and his followers, “The Chosen” is set to earn $8.2 million this weekend.
Chalk up “The Chosen” as another win for the faith-based division of Fathom Events, which draws evangelical moviegoers to theaters on weekends when they don’t have a major new studio title to screen. Fathom is set to release another religious film in early December with ‘Johnny Cash: Redemption of an American Icon,’ a documentary about the famous musician’s transition to Christianity produced by ‘I Can Only Imagine’ directors Jon and Andrew Erwin. via Kingdom Story Company.