‘M3GAN’ Aims at $27 Million Opening Weekend for Second Place Behind ‘Avatar 2’

M3GAN” is poised to make a killing in its box office debut this weekend, but it won’t be enough to scare off “Avatar: The Way of Water” from the top spot.

Universal’s PG-13 horror is now expected to take a $27 million stab into its opening weekend, which is up from earlier projections. It made $11.7 million on Friday, and it will be the first movie to open above $20 million in the first weekend of January — typically a slow, post-holiday time — since 2018’s “Insidious: The Last Key.”

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However, “M3GAN” will have to settle for second place, as James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” is looking to make between $35 million and $43 million in its fourth weekend, which will bring it past $500 million domestically. That will be about a 33% to 45% decrease from last weekend, but the blockbuster juggernaut keeps breaking records. On Friday, it surpassed Marvel’s “The Avengers” as No. 9 on the highest-grossing movies of all time with $1.546 billion globally. It’s the second highest-grossing domestic release of 2022 behind “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“M3GAN” was previously predicted to make $17 million to $20 million this weekend from 3,400 theaters. That’s a killer start for a movie with a production budget of only $12 million.

Short for Model 3 Generative Android, “M3GAN” is directed by Gerard Johnstone and stars Allison Williams and Violet McGraw. When an AI creation meant to provide companionship to a recently orphaned girl becomes a little too protective, terrifying antics ensue. It’s produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions and James Wan’s Atomic Monster Productions.

“M3GAN” has been getting good reviews, too, with Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman writing that the film “is overly steeped in pop-culture role models, but in its trivial way it’s a diverting genre film, one that possesses a healthy sense of its own absurdity.”

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