LOS ANGELES — Avatar: The Way of Water topped the box office in its second weekend, bringing in a strong $56 million in North America on Sunday, according to studio estimates — a sign that the sequel may be sticking around surface well into the new year and approach the huge expectations that fulfilled its release.
James Cameron’s digital extravaganza for 20th Century Studios earned $253.7 million domestically in its first 10 days, compared with $212.7 million in the same period for 2009’s first “Avatar,” which became the highest-grossing film of all time .
While Cameron films like the original “Avatar” and “Titanic” tend to have serious legs at the box office, sequels tend to be big and fall quickly, complicating speculation about where the film will end up. Its second-weekend drop from the $134 million it earned in the first wasn’t sudden, given how blockbusters open.
“This is James Cameron’s first $100 million introduction,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
“For this movie to start like that and only drop 58 percent shows it’s sustainable.”
Globally, “The Way of Water” is already the third-highest-grossing film to be released in 2022, bringing in $855 million — trailing only “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion” — and is a lock, to exceed one billion dollars. .
It’s also clear the film is looking ahead, with more holidays coming up and no comparable competition until February when Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” comes out.
Storms across the US, however, could keep people at home.
“The biggest enemy facing the Avatar right now is the weather,” Dergarabedian said.
Universal’s animated Shrek spinoff, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” starring the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, finished second with $11.35 million in its opening weekend.
Sony’s biopic “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody” finished third with $5.3 million.
The biggest disappointment of the weekend was “Babylon,” an early Hollywood epic from “La La Land” director Damian Chazelle starring Brad Pitt and Margo Robbie. It grossed just $3.5 million in its nationwide release and finished in fourth place.
A tepid $6.5 million opening weekend in October for director David O. Russell’s “Amsterdam,” another film set in a similar era that combined prestige, scale, star power and a famous auteur, gave the industry worries that the audience just doesn’t have. they flock to cinemas for such films.
Concerns proved justified, as “Babylon” barely reached more than half of “Amsterdam’s” opening.
Upcoming weeks in theaters, streaming and potential nominations could help “Babylon” rise above bombshell status.
“I would say Babylon is a movie that’s not about opening weekend,” Dergarabedian said. “We’ll have to see what he does in the coming weeks and then in the new year, especially if he gets more awards buzz.”
Estimated ticket sales are Friday through Sunday in theaters across the U.S. and Canada, according to Comscore.
1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $56 million
2. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, 11.35 million
3. “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” $5.3 million
4. “Babylon,” $3.5 million
5. “Violent Night,” $3.14 million
6. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $3 million
7. “The Whale,” $924,000
8. “Dining Room”, $617,000
9. “The Fabelmans,” $550,000
10. “Strange World,” $410,000
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