January Box Office – Fueled by ‘Avatar 2’ and Fresh Hits – Jumps 50% From Last Year

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Monthly totals nearly hit $600 million, but remain 28% down from 2019

box office, Avatar 2, Megan, Puss in Boots 2 20th Century Universal
From left, "Avatar: The Way of Water," "M3GAN" and "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish." (20th Century, Universal)

If the January box office is any indication of how the rest of 2023 will play out, movie theaters should see a significant rise in business compared to last year — albeit still below what they saw before the pandemic.

Comscore data shows that the monthly total for the North American box office finished at $588.5 million, a staggering 50% increase from January 2022. The key driver, of course, was Disney/20th Century’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” with $222.5 million in domestic grosses that month.

But unlike last year when “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was the only serious moneymaker with smaller support coming from Paramount’s “Scream” revival, “Avatar 2” got more support from a wider array of new releases and holiday holdovers.