BO Report: ‘Violent Night’ opens amid slowest weekend of 2022 yet

'Violent Night'.

Last weekend proved to be the slowest at the box office this year yet, with national receipts the lowest they have been since 2021’s COVID-19 lockdowns ended.

Numero data puts the top 20 titles at $5.1 million, or 12 per cent down on the previous weekend.

The best performing new release was Universal’s Christmas action comedy Violent Night, which stars David Harbour as a Santa Claus who takes on mercenaries who have kidnapped a wealthy family.

Coming in behind Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Menu, the film captured $659,420 from 297 screens, an average of $2,220 per screen. In North America, the film performed above expectations, opening to $US13.3 million.

Indian crime thriller HIT: The 2nd Case, distributed by Tolly Movies, cracked eighth position, earning $120,956 from just 35 screens.

Despite the current slow, exhibitors canvassed by IF are fairly optimistic about the weeks ahead with Avatar: The Way of Water opening on December 15.

“I think a lot of people are just being extra careful where they spend their money at the moment with cost of living concerns being on most people’s minds right now,” Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace GM Alex Temesvari tells IF.

“I would certainly expect things to pick up considerably once Avatar drops and continue into the holiday season with the great line up on offer.”

While having some success with Violent Night and The Menu, Wallis Cinemas programming manager David Simpson tells IF: “Audiences just don’t seem to be aware that there are some great titles out there.”

Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell tells IF “everything remains on hold” awaiting Avatar. Pre-sales are starting to pick up pace, but a lot hinges on its success in late December through January.

“High fuel prices, global uncertainty and increasing interest rates are generally hanging over the market and depressing the box office – if we had must see movies then that would be fine, but without them it is hard to get people coming, and we have lost a lot of momentum over the last 3-4 months which we are looking to Avatar and the summer holidays to restore,” he says.

Village Cinemas national programming manager Geoff Chards tells IF there is “just a drought of product at the moment”, one that has been around for months but has been exacerbated by the impending release of Avatar: The Way of Water.

“Our pre-sales though for that film are looking really encouraging; there is a huge demand for the film already and from what we can tell it will break all sorts of records.”

No. 1 for the fourth consecutive weekend was Disney’s Wakanda Forever, which is now at $25.2 million after adding a further $1.8 million. Globally, the Marvel sequel has reached $US733 million.

Fellow Mouse House title The Menu held exceptionally well in its sophomore frame, with $666,975 marking just a 7 per cent drop. The dark comedy/horror has grossed $2.2 million so far.

Animated stablemate Strange World also held well into its second frame, dipping just 10 per cent to $542,080, moving to $1.3 million.

Warner Bros. Black Adam now stands at $18.5 million after adding another $196,370, while Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is now at $7.2 million following an extra $154,479.

Now three weekends in, Mindblowing’s Drishyam 2 crossed the $1 million mark after earning $139,929.

WB’s cannibal romance, Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, made $108,072 in its second, moving to $403,883.

Rounding out the top 10 was local comedy Seriously Red. The Roadshow title had a decent hold its in second frame, dropping 39 per cent to $107,665, advancing to $528,175.

Coming in at no. 14 was local doco The Angels: Kickin’ Down The Door, which bowed to $53,901 from 86 screens, or $68,257 with previews for Maslow Entertainment.