January is typically a slower month at the box-office. That is not to say that January is slow month for moviegoing. In recent years, studios have seen success with dropping event-level films first: American Sniper, Bad Boys for Life, Ride Along, Kung Fu Panda 3, Glass, Cloverfield, and Split – these all opened north of $40M.
There is no title of that caliber for this month, but the box-office continues to benefit from last year’s major hit: Spider-Man: No Way Home. This weekend’s total box-office rose to $62M, with over half of that coming from Spider-Man ($33M). The Sony/Marvel love-letter to fans has accumulated a phenomenal $669M since coming to theaters December 17. Now the sixth highest-grossing title of all time – above both Jurassic World ($652M) and Titanic ($659M) – Spider-Man: No Way Home is expected to take fifth place from Avengers: Infinity War ($679M) very soon. Despite the forces of nature at play, movies with high demand and outstanding reviews continue to weather the storm.
This weekend’s new release, The 355, fits neither category. Despite gathering a talented cast of some Hollywood’s top leading actresses (Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Diane Kruger, and Fan Bingbing), critics slapped a bright green 26% on RottenTomatoes. The general audience score was a kinder 83%, but that still only amounted to a $4.8M launch. With that as a starting point, The 355’s theatrical gross will likely fizzle out before it becomes available to stream on Peacock in 45 days (or sooner).
Speaking of streaming – it is worth noting that (at this point in time) there are no titles on the 2022 calendar that have been flagged for a day-and-date release. Could it still happen? Of course. Streaming platforms want to strengthen their portfolio of content to keep those monthly subscribers coming back. Most recently, Disney made the decision to make Pixar’s Turning Red a Disney Plus exclusive – dropping it from its March 11 release in theaters. Despite Luca and Soul being critically-acclaimed and award-winning titles (worthy of the theatrical experience in my humble opinion), Disney seems to think that Pixar’s efforts are better served for the at-home movie.
That being said, studios are more confident with theatrical releases this year:
2022 has a strong line-up of major tentpole films! Until then, we’ll get Belle and Scream this weekend, Friday 1/14.