How Tom Hanks’ New Movie A Man Called Otto Beat The Box Office Odds


It may still be early in the 2023 new movie release schedule, but there’s never a bad time for a surprise at the movies. M3GAN’s success story was the first big happening at the movies this year, as it over-performed even its rosiest estimates when all was done and dusted. However, a new surprise has just reared its head, as Tom Hanks’ role as a lovable grump in A Man Called Otto has seemingly beat the odds. 

Tom Hanks annoyed in A Man called Otto

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

How Well A Man Called Otto Performed At This Weekend’s Box Office

Heading into its first week of wide release, the Marc Forster picture — which is based on author Fredrik Backman’s novel, A Man Called Ove — didn’t look like it was going to fare rather well. Box Office Pro estimated that the Hanks vehicle would only grab $4.2 million, presumably on the domestic front. 

That prediction was more than shattered, as Box Office Mojo estimates have the film weighing in at between $12 – $15 million, depending on whether or not you’re looking at the Martin Luther King Jr. long weekend numbers.  Overall grosses for A Man Called Otto, which had previously been released in limited markets around Christmas, have climbed to almost $36 million according to the reporting cited above. 

How that number breaks down, and the demographics that factor into this result, are as surprising as the result itself. It’s a shock that has some extra boost to it in a weekend where a recognizable IP like House Party became a box office dud.

Tom Hanks looks back from the driver's seat in A Man Called Otto.

(Image credit: Sony/Columbia)

Why The Tom Hanks Dramedy May Have Beaten The Odds

Believe it or not, Tom Hanks’ latest movie is performing better on the domestic market than the international circuit. The monstrous success of Avatar: The Way of Water is a good example of how the typical blockbuster seems to work in modern times, as the nearly $2 billion haul James Cameron has made worldwide is split, with 70% of that result coming from foreign markets. Looking at A Man Called Otto, its current standings favor the domestic picture, which amounts to 59.4% of its results. 

Potentially fueling that charge is a trio of factors, one of which being that the Rotten Tomatoes scores for the film have been pretty favorable. Because of that factor, reasonable weather, and news (via Variety) that older moviegoers showed up in droves, Otto has become a surprising modest hit in a box office where Avatar 2 is looking to dominate for some time to come.

That’s just the thing: when it comes to a scenario where there’s a massive, long-running hit, you need to pay close attention to the back field; as well as the newcomers. Who can forget when Titanic’s theatrical reign of power was extinguished by none other than Lost in Space in the first weekend of 1998. Though A Man Called Otto may not have the legs to keep it going at the movies that long, there appears to be a chance that it’ll have the power to build good word of mouth with a demographic that’s been a bit reluctant to go to the movies lately.

You don’t have to take our word for it, dear readers. A Man Called Otto is now in wide theatrical release, and just might be the next big movie to put on your watch list. For more antics involving Tom Hanks, check out the actor’s return to the ReelBlend podcast, where he promoted this very film and discussed his cinematic legacy.

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