‘Wakanda Forever’ is number 1 for the fourth consecutive weekend

NEW YORK — “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” took the box office crown for the fourth straight weekend, and the comedic holiday thriller “Violent Night” opened with $13.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. But the biggest talking point of 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 attractions. Last weekend, the broadcaster, in its first such deal with major North American networks, launched “Glass Onion” in some 600 theaters. While significantly less than the 4,000-plus theaters in which most major movies play, the Netflix movie grossed around $15 million, an enviable total for a mid-scale release.

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

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

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

“Violent Night” was the only wide theatrical release. Starring David Harbor as a not-so-holy holy 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.

Although “Avatar: The Way of Water” and other holiday releases like “Puss in Boots 2,” “Babylon” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” are coming up in the coming weeks, theaters continue to see fewer movies in general release than before. . David A. Gross, who publishes the box office subscription newsletter FranchiseRe, says that while there were 58 franchise movies released in 2019, there were only 32 in 2022.

There has also been a dearth of family releases in theaters. After a quiet debut last weekend, Disney’s big-budget animated fantasy adventure “Strange World” slipped to third place with just $4.9 million in its second week. Instead, some of the season’s notable kids’ movies air.

Roald Dahl’s adaptation of “Matilda the Musical,” starring Emma Thompson, was made jointly by Netflix, Sony Pictures and Working Title Films. Netflix has the worldwide distribution rights to the film, except in the UK and Ireland, where Sony brought the film to theaters this past weekend. For two weeks, “Matilda” has been the UK’s highest-grossing film, grossing $9.7 million in that span. In the US, “Matilda” starts running at Christmas.

Estimated ticket sales Friday through Sunday at theaters in the US and Canada, according to Comscore. The final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Wakanda Forever,” $17.6 million.

2. “Violent Night,” $13.3 million.

3. “Weird 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.


Follow AP film writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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