Awaiting Avatar 2, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Tops The Box Office Again, And Brendan Fraser's The Whale Makes A Splash

Shuri as Black Panther in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Come Friday, James Cameron's Avatar: The Way Of Water is set to become the biggest thing in theaters, and if early buzz is any indication, it will likely hold that position as we ride out what's left of 2022. Until we get there, however, the big screen world still belongs to Ryan Coogler's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which brought in another eight figure haul during its sixth weekend since its opening.

Check out the full Top 10 in the chart below, and join me after for analysis!

Weekend Box Office Black Panther Wakanda Forever December 9-11, 2022

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever$11,100,000 $409,810,778 13,725
2. Violent Night$8,700,000 $26,694,315 23,723
3. Strange World$3,600,000 $30,453,692 33,560
4. The Menu$2,700,000 $29,027,758 42,710
5. Devotion$2,000,000 $16,972,419 53,458
6. Black Adam$1,340,000 $166,873,377 72,143
7. The Fabelmans$1,180,000 $7,329,966 8973
8. I Heard the Bells$750,713$4,072,9546783
9. Spoiler Alert$700,000 $802,593231,394
10. Ticket To Paradise$600,000 $67,514,205101,707

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Wins The Box Office For A 2022-Best Six Weekends In A Row

I noted in my column last weekend that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was the first film released in 2022 to dominate the domestic box office for five weekends in a row, and now the blockbuster has successfully enhanced that record. For reasons that honestly aren't wholly clear, studios opted not to put any new movies out in wide release this past weekend, which left Black Panther's path to another victory wholly unobstructed.

With the haul, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continues to climb up the 2022 charts, and it will soon become the second biggest film of the year domestically. The  blockbuster wasn't quite able to surpass the opening weekend numbers put up by Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness this past May, but it is set to move past its Marvel sibling in total earnings. The Ryan Coogler feature has made $409.8 million to date in the United States and Canada, and Doctor Strange 2 brought in $411.3 million before it was done playing on the big screen.

According to The Numbers, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has now officially moved into the Top 5 worldwide for 2022, having brought it $767.8 million. It will need to make an additional $171.5 million to move past Kyle Balda's Minions: The Rise Of Gru and into fourth place, but it has now made more than Matt Reeves' The Batman, which made $767.6 million during its theatrical run.

Shuri on the astral plane in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

When put side by side, the numbers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ryan Coogler's first Black Panther movie don't really compare – but more than anything that's an expression of what has happened to cinema distribution and the industry since March 2020. The 2018 film ranks as the sixth highest grossing title to come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the sequel sits in 16th place, despite the franchise having a history of follow-ups surpassing their predecessors at the box office.

With Disney shifting its focus to promoting Avatar: The Way Of Water, this will probably be Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's last big weekend in the spotlight, and its numbers probably won't go much higher than where they are now, but Marvel Studios can certainly call the film a success – particularly in light of all the challenges that the production faced during development.

The Whale Only Played In Six Theaters, But The Screenings Were Packed

While earnings a mixed critical reaction and stirring up its fair share of controversy, Darren Aronofsky's The Whale has successfully earned a great deal of curiosity since it screened at multiple festivals this fall. It's unclear just yet how that will ultimately translate to box office earnings for the film – which centers on a dying, 600-pound man played by Brendan Fraser – but its time in limited release this past weekend suggests that it could end up making quite a lot of money.

The Whale won't be playing in theaters around the country until December 21, but it played in a total of six locations in New York and Los Angeles over the past three days, and it did exceptionally well. As you can probably tell from the chart above, it didn't do well enough to make it into the Top 10, but it made an impressive $360,000  – which equates to $60,000 per location.

That's obviously coming from a very tiny sample size, and it won't be possible for it to be recreated in wide release (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever only averaged $41,251 in its opening weekend), but it's an indication that people are excited to see the film and the Brenasainnce hit its peak. The movie definitely won't be a destination for families looking for something to watch together during the holidays, but it will make for some fascinating counterprogramming to Avatar: The Way Of Water in the blockbuster's second weekend of release. 

Violent Night Has A Tremendous Sophomore Performance, Dropping Only 35 Percent Weekend-To-Weekend

Further looking for silver linings during a rather dismal stretch at the box office, I can also point to the performance of Tommy Wirkola's Violent Night starring David Harbour. After earning positive reviews prior to its release, the R-rated action movie had an debut in theaters last week that exceeded expectations, and now it is demonstrating some impressive legs with an awesome weekend-to-weekened drop.

After making $13.5 million in its first Friday-to-Sunday, the killer Santa film made an additional $8.7 million during its second, which is a dip of only 35 percent. The movie only cost a reported $20 million to produce (via Variety), and to date it has more than doubled that figure in ticket sales worldwide – its current global total standing at $41.8 million. As I noted in my column last week, positive buzz and the arrival of the Christmas holiday in a couple weeks should help the movie stick around in the Top 5 for the rest of December, even as competition gets more significant.

On that note, Avatar: The Way Of Water will be here soon, and we'll know next Sunday morning if its a hit or a flop. Be sure to come back here to CinemaBlend to see the results and the shakeup to the rest of the Top 10.

To discover all of the films that are set to still scheduled to arrive between now and the end of the year, check our our 2022 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.