Universal Pictures’ “M3GAN” has become the country’s second highest-grossing film of this year after earning more than $30 million on its opening weekend.
The PG-13 sci-fi horror film, produced by James Wan, was released domestically on Friday, opening to a strong start on the first weekend of 2023
Wan, 45, is notably behind some of the most well-received horror movie franchises of the past few years, including “The Conjuring,” “The Nun” and “Insidious,” to name a few.
Directed by Gerard Johnstone, “M3GAN” is currently No. 2 on this year’s domestic highest-grossing film list after earning $30.4 million at the U.S. box office, right behind “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Last year, several horror films under Universal Pictures notably did well at the box office, such as Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” which features Steven Yeun, and “Halloween Ends.” “M3GAN” has reportedly made the biggest opening in the U.S. for an original horror movie since “Nope.”
Internationally, Wan’s latest movie has made $14.8 million. The film was reportedly produced with a budget of only $12 million before marketing.
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Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst for Comscore, believes that having a PG-13 rating instead of an R-rating helped “M3GAN” reach a larger demographic, as per The Hollywood Reporter.
“Let’s not forget the importance of the decision to position ‘M3GAN’ in the demographic sweet spot that is the very social media-active audience who were granted permission to see the film via its advantageous PG-13 rating,” he said.
“This opened an extended footprint for the film to be exposed to an even bigger FOMO-sensitive audience that took the film from a $20 million opener to a $30 million opener, no small feat.”
Around 77% of “M3GAN’s” viewers were reportedly between the ages of 13 and 34.
Days before its premiere, the film also gained more traction due to a creepy promotional stunt at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, during the game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams.
“M3GAN” follows the story of Cady (Violet McGraw), a recently orphaned girl who receives an artificially intelligent doll named M3GAN (Amie Donald) created by her roboticist aunt, Gemma (Allison Williams).
Things take a quick turn once M3GAN becomes self-aware and highly overprotective of Cady.
Besides McGraw, Donald and Williams, “M3GAN” also stars Brian Jordan Alvarez and Ronny Chieng, who plays the role of David, the CEO of the company that helped create the AI doll.