Long Range Box Office Forecast: M3GAN and A Man Called Otto Will Have to Prop Up a Light January Before 2023 Truly Ramps Up

Photo Credits: Universal Pictures & Blumhouse ("M3GAN")

This week’s report is short and sweet with no new additions to add in the public report, currently running up to the final frame of January.

Although holiday holdover patterns could shift the target somewhat, forecasts for January 2023’s overall domestic market were aiming near $490 million as of December 20. By comparison, January 2022 drew $359 million, while January 2020 rang up $763 million.

To this point, the narrative about how Avatar: The Way of Water will be crucial for the industry going into the early weeks of the new year remains more apropos than ever. The James Cameron sequel is beginning to show its staying power after two weeks in release, but with the holidays wrapping up soon, theaters will have a slim January slate of new content to look forward to.

Pre-pandemic, this is usually the time of year when award season candidates would expand and hold exceedingly well during the run up to the Oscars in late winter. However, changing audience habits and a demonstrably weak slate of prestige films lacking much commercial potential (most of which are already available to stream at home) won’t allow that to happen this year.

For now, January’s best bet among new openers is still M3GAN from Universal and Blumhouse. Their latest original collaboration continues to trend strongly on social media — especially TikTok — and should begin ramping up in the pre-sale category next week. Appeal to audiences under 30 is strongest based on current tracking.

Meanwhile, Sony’s A Man Called Otto will serve as the adult-oriented option expanding nationwide in hopes of a healthy run. Its strategy mirrors that of something like Hidden Figures six years ago as a crowd-pleasing film (based on early screenings), though to expect similar box office results is a wholly unfair comparison in this day and age.

Notably, Universal does still have Distant on the release slate for January 27. It would be due for inclusion in this public report, but since marketing is nonexistent, most believe the film will not meet that date theatrically. The studio hasn’t commented on the film’s target release since June.

Current forecasts for those and other upcoming titles are in the chart below.

February will start to see things ramp up more noticeably with the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin (February 3), Magic Mike’s Last Dance (February 10), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17), and Cocaine Bear (February 24), among others.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2023’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 12/30/22)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low-End Range Domestic Total Low-End Range Distributor
12/30/2022 A Man Called Otto (LA / NY Platform)     Sony Pictures / Columbia
1/6/2023 M3GAN $20,000,000+ $49,000,000+ Universal Pictures
1/6/2023 A Man Called Otto (Limited)     Sony Pictures / Columbia
1/6/2023 Women Talking (Wide)     United Artists Releasing
1/13/2023 The Devil Conspiracy     Third Day Productions
1/13/2023 House Party $4,000,000+ $10,000,000+ Warner Bros. Pictures
1/13/2023 A Man Called Otto (Wide Expansion) $9,000,000+ $30,000,000+ Sony Pictures / Columbia
1/13/2023 Plane $6,000,000+ $15,000,000+ Lionsgate
1/20/2023 Missing $4,000,000+ $10,000,000+ Sony / Screen Gems
1/20/2023 The Son     Sony Pictures Classics
1/20/2023 Untitled Crunchyroll Film     Crunchyroll / Sony
1/25/2023 Pathaan     Yash Raj Films
1/27/2023 Distant     Universal Pictures
1/27/2023 Fear     Hidden Empire Film Group

Unless otherwise noted, all figures above represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation at the time of this report’s publication date. These are statistical snapshots, not final forecasts.

Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections for theatrical movies up to 12 months from release are available to clients.

For more information about this article or to report any corrections, please contact the author.

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