How Strong Reviews and a Murder Dance Turned ‘M3GAN’ Into 2023’s First Box Office Surprise

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The horror-comedy sets the stage for producer James Wan’s budding partnership with Blumhouse

Amie Donald, Allison Williams and Violet McGraw in M3GAN – via Universal Pictures

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It’s rare that a box office hit arrives in theaters on the first weekend of the new year, but Universal delivered it with the horror film “M3GAN,” a co-production between James Wan’s Atomic Monster Productions and Blumhouse that beat expectations with a $30 million opening.

Horror films are common this time of year as studios see early January as a prime spot to release a low-risk, low-budget title that can draw in younger audiences. But “M3GAN” has beaten all expectations by becoming the first January horror film since 2012 to earn an opening of $30 million or more, buoyed by a wave of strong reviews from critics who praised the film’s mix of horror, dark comedy and self-aware tone.