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'Don't Worry Darling' tops U.S. box office forecasts and 'Avatar' re-release

Yahoo Finance entertainment reporter Allie Canal details the box office performances for films 'Don't Worry Darling', 'Avatar', and 'The Woman King' and what the box office projections are for Q4.

Video transcript


SEANA SMITH: All right, Rachelle. Well, despite poor reviews and off screen drama, Olivia Wilde's "Don't Worry Darling" surpassed expectations at the box office this past weekend. Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal joins us now for more on that. And Ali, maybe all this drama ahead of the release really helped on opening weekend.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I think so. I had a feeling this was going to happen. There's sort of the notion that all press is good press, and then let's not forget, we also have those die hard Harry Styles fans that probably came out to go and see this film. But "Don't Worry Darling" wasn't the only box office success this past weekend. Also, the re-release of "Avatar" did really well as well.

If we take a look at some of the numbers here both domestically and globally, you'll see that "Don't Worry Darling," solid $19.2 million haul in domestic markets, a global gross of $30 million. Warner Brothers had anticipated an $18 million start, so above expectations there. And then if you take a look at "Avatar," this film came out 13 years ago, yet it brought in an additional $10 million, domestically $31 million globally, which is a really good confidence booster ahead of that sequel in December.

There has been talk when it talks when we think about the appetite for 3D films right now whether or not 3D will perform well within this market, but this re-release sort of proved that 3D, at least right now, it's here to stay, with 75% of the tickets sold in this format. We know that's a very important element for James Cameron. So the box office, everyone involved in this production certainly not too bummed out by the results and this re-release.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: I bet. So then how does this set up the box office for the rest of the year?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Well, I think what we're seeing now shows motivation to get back to the theater, it shows some momentum. And it's not just this past weekend, but really what we've seen throughout the summer and into those fall months. Viola Davis' "The Woman King," for example, that topped box office charts last week. And I think that really underscored the idea that you can have an original film without a superhero, without this big IP, and that film can still outperform in this market.

Right now, inflation doesn't seem to be holding consumers back. The one thing that will hold consumers back though, is that lack of movie supply. And that's something that the industry is currently dealing with right now. We will see that pipeline start to slow down until November, when "Black Panther Wakanda Forever" is set to debut. "Avatar, The Way of Water" won't be far behind it with a December 16 release.

Year to date, ticket sales are currently at $5.5 billion. That's a little over two times the amount seen in 2021, but still approximately 30% below 2019 levels. So the fourth quarter needs to be very strong if we want to see the full year box office hit that projected $7.5 million. It's not impossible, but you have to remember that we have these macroeconomic challenges, and of course, that supply chain backlog. And that could prevent a full recovery until 2023.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, certainly a number of hurdles ahead for the industry. Ali, I'm curious from your perspective I guess, what do you think is the biggest challenge right now for the film industry? Does it also have to do with the fact that it is an industry that's changing very rapidly and maybe the old method won't necessarily cut it here looking to the future?

ALEXANDRA CANAL: I think that's something that the industry is dealing with, but I think number one is, we need to get more movies into theaters. You can't have people coming and filling in those seats if you don't have the supply. And all the analysts that I've spoken with, that is the biggest concern through the fall.

Now the 2023 season, that looks pretty strong, especially since we're recovering from some of that COVID backlog effect. But that is definitely the most immediate concern. I think once we handle that, it will be a bigger question of how do the movies look today post COVID? What do consumers want?

I think there's going to be a shift in the types of theaters that you see, maybe more recliner seats, more of a theatrical experience. I think that's what consumers want right now. So I think once we address the movie problem, the next question is, how is this industry changed and what can we as an industry do to address those changes.

SEANA SMITH: Going to be interesting to see how it evolves. Ali Canal, thanks, as always.