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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ is No. 1 at the box office for 4th straight weekend

A man dressed in fur and armor holding a scepter
Winston Duke as M'Baku in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
(Eli Ade / Marvel Studios)
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“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” kept the box-office crown for the fourth straight weekend, and the comic holiday thriller “Violent Night” debuted with $13.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. But the biggest talking point on the weekend was a movie conspicuously absent from theaters.

Had Netflix kept Rian Johnson’s whodunit sequel “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” in theaters, it would have been one of the weekend’s top draws. Last weekend, the streamer — in its first such pact with North America’s top chainsreleased “Glass Onion” in about 600 theaters. While significantly less than the 4,000-plus theaters most big movies open in, the Netflix film reportedly grossed about $15 million — an enviable total for a medium-scaled release.

Netflix declined to release ticket sales and pulled “Glass Onion” on Tuesday, preferring to keep its release limited to a one-week sneak-peak theatrical run before debuting on the streaming service Dec. 23. Netflix’s focus, its executives have said, is driving subscribers to its streaming service. On Wednesday, Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, acknowledged the company left “lots” of money on the table in the move.

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“Any theaters we can get it into at any point, I’m pushing for,” Johnson told Insider in a recent interview. “I want more people to have the opportunity to be able to watch it.”

“We were very interested in how it did” at the box office, the filmmaker added. “We wanted it to do incredibly well for a lot of reasons. ... I really want to show that this can happen and this can be a huge success. And that when it hits the service, people will still turn up, and it will be huge on the service. That those two things can complement each other. Because I want more next time. I want more theaters. I want it for longer.”

Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira and Lupita Nyong’o return to Wakanda without the late Chadwick Boseman in Ryan Coogler’s stirring follow-up to “Black Panther.”

Instead of feasting on “Glass Onion,” as ticket buyers did after Thanksgiving in 2019 when Lionsgate released “Knives Out,” moviegoers were fed mostly leftovers this weekend.

For four weeks, the Walt Disney Co.'s “Wakanda Forever” has ruled the box office. Ryan Coogler’s Marvel movie has totaled $733 million globally, including $339 million in overseas sales.

“Violent Night” was the only new wide release in cinemas. Starring David Harbour as a not-so-saintly Saint Nick, the Universal release got off to a good start. “Violent Night,” which earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences, cost about $20 million to make.

Though “Avatar: The Way of Water” and other holiday releases like “Puss in Boots 2,” “Babylon” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” loom in the coming weeks, theaters continue to see fewer films in wide release than they did pre-pandemic. David A. Gross, who publishes the box-office subscription newsletter FranchiseRe, says that while there were 58 franchise films released in 2019, there have been only 32 in 2022.

‘Violent Night’ can’t decide if it’s naughty or nice; not even David Harbour and John Leguizamo can elevate it’s ‘Die Hard'/'Home Alone’ aspirations.

There’s also been a dearth of family releases in theaters. After a muted debut last weekend, Disney’s big-budget animated fantasy adventure “Strange World” dipped to third place with a mere $4.9 million in its second week. Some of the season’s notable kid-friendly movies are streaming instead.

The Roald Dahl adaptation “Matilda the Musical,” starring Emma Thompson, was made jointly by Netflix, Sony Pictures and Working Title Films. Netflix has worldwide distribution rights to the film except for the United Kingdom and Ireland, where Sony put the film into theaters last weekend. For two weeks, “Matilda” has been the top film at the U.K. box office, grossing $9.7 million over that stretch. In the U.S., “Matilda” begins streaming on Christmas.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “Wakanda Forever,” $17.6 million.

2. “Violent Night,” $13.3 million.

3. “Strange World,” $4.9 million.

4. “The Menu,” $3.6 million.

5. “Devotion,” $2.8 million.

6. “I Heard the Bells,” $1.8 million.

7. “Black Adam,” $1.7 million.

8. “The Fabelmans,” $1.3 million.

9. “Bones and All,” $1.2 million.

10. “Ticket to Paradise,” $850,000.


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