Further context only serves to illustrate just how huge the opening weekend for “M3GAN” actually was. For one, it had a bigger opening weekend than several huge horror hits in 2022, including “Scream” ($30 million), “The Black Phone” ($23 million), and “Smile” ($22 million). You have to look at Jordan Peele’s “NOPE” ($44 million) to find a bigger opening for an original film last year, and that movie came with a $68 million budget. In the end, it all comes down to profitability. Universal is no doubt very happy to have Peele under its roof and is probably going to be happy with “NOPE” in the long term. That having been said, that budget almost certainly prevented it from being profitable in its theatrical run. “M3GAN,” on the other hand, is probably in the green already, or very close to it, even with the cost of marketing.
To make the numbers seem all the more remarkable? As Variety points out, “M3GAN” is the first movie to have an opening weekend north of $30 million in the first week of the new year since 2012, when “The Devil Inside” opened to $33.7 million. The difference, in that case, is the movie in question had abysmal reviews and fell off a cliff in the weeks that followed. It was a one-and-done that almost tricked audiences into buying a ticket. The tale of an artificially intelligent, lifelike, caregiving doll that goes haywire, resulting in a killing spree, on the other hand, is a crowd-pleaser. That’s far better for long-term prospects.