Box Office: ‘M3GAN’ Aims for Impressive $20 Million Debut, but ’Avatar 2′ Will Rule Again

A terrifying animatronic doll named M3GAN, short for Model 3 Generative Android, is poised to take the box office by storm.

Universal and Blumhouse’s PG-13 “M3GAN” is aiming to generate $17 million to $20 million from 3,400 North American theaters in its opening weekend. Those ticket sales would mark a scary-good start because the modestly budgeted horror film cost just $12 million to produce.

More from Variety

“M3GAN” is hoping to function as counter-programming in January, which tends to be a dead month at the movies. But the pint-sized agent of terror will be no match for James Cameron’s reigning champion “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which is expected to dominate domestic box office charts for the fourth consecutive week. Disney and 20th Century’s blockbuster sequel is projected to decline roughly 50% over the weekend, putting its estimated three-day tally at $30 million to $35 million.

After three weeks of release, “The Way of Water” has grossed $446 million in North America, overtaking “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ($440 million) as the second-highest grossing movie released in 2022. “Top Gun: Maverick” holds the top spot in the U.S. with $718 million, a staggering result.

But internationally and globally, “Avatar 2” has dethroned Tom Cruise’s latest tentpole to become the biggest release of 2022 with $1 billion overseas and $1.5 billion worldwide. Without any notable competition on the horizon, “The Way of Water” is expected to continue its towering run into the new year.

Fear not, horror fans. Pandora won’t entirely suck up the oxygen in theaters. Already, the Gerard Johnstone-directed “M3GAN” looks like it’ll benefit greatly from word of mouth. In the lead-up to its release, the robotic doll has become a viral sensation and meme queen, thanks to her killer choreography and overall chaotic energy. Universal and Blumhouse have capitalized on the fervor with clever marketing tactics, including troupes of dancing dolls at the film’s premiere.

“M3GAN,” which co-stars Allison Williams and Violet McGraw, is about a life-like AI creation who is programmed to be the perfect companion to a recently orphaned girl. But, ultimately, it’s a horror movie about a demonic-looking doll, so it’s probably safe to assume things take a turn for the worse.

VIP+ Analysis: ‘Avatar’ Schools Disney on Film Franchises  

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.