Ever since Blumhouse and Universal released the first trailer for M3GAN this past October, all eyes have been on the android doll. Universal’s spent weeks making sure that people know about the killer toy movie from Malignant writer Akela Cooper, acclaimed horror architect James Wan, and Housebound director Gerard Johnstone.
And at the end of the day, all that hard work paid off: not only has M3GAN gotten pretty good reviews, it’s doing better than expected in terms of financials. Per Variety, the film has earned $45 million worldwide, and the bulk of that is stateside. At time of writing, North American metrics have it at $30.2 million, well above the $17-$20 million expectations. The remaining $14.8 million has been from international audiences, but regardless, the film’s made its cash back and then some. In fact, it’s the first movie in over a decade to release in the first week of January and earn over $30 million domestically—the last film to do so was The Devil Inside back in 2012 for $33.7 million.
Even with that surprise overperformance, Avatar: The Way of Water was the top theatrical movie for the weekend—it earned an extra $45 million, putting its global total at $1.7 billion. But it’s still a solid victory for M3GAN: again, Universal’s been going out of its way to market this thing via social media (mainly having M3gan pick fights with Scream’s Ghostface and Child’s Play’s Chucky on Twitter) and viral videos. Marketing a movie: it works! As Universal’s domestic distribution president Jim Orr said: “Word-of-mouth is through the roof.”
That word of mouth may be key to the rest of M3GAN’s theatrical tenure, as Janaury is actually fairly stocked with movies. Next week sees the release of the Gerard Butler/Mike Colter team-up film Plane (yes, it’s really called that) and Blumhouse’s COVID thriller Sick. Films releasing later in the month include Missing (January 20), the follow up to 2018's Searching; Paramount+’s Teen Wolf movie (January 26), and Infinity Pool from Brandon Cronenberg (January 27). For a month that can often be a dead zone for films, 2023's January is definitely anything but.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.