‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Crosses $1 Billion Worldwide In The Week And Is Headed Past $400 million Domestic Over New Year’s Weekend
As we head into the new year, Avatar: The Way of Water continues its dominance with no sign of slowing down yet. It crossed $1 billion worldwide this week, making it one of just six films ever to hit the ten digits in the first two weeks of its release, and at $1.03 billion it is already the year’s second highest grossing film and the third highest grossing of the 2020s. On the domestic front, the 12 day cume is $317 million, and though the extreme weather and low-grossing Christmas Eve holiday took a chunk out of the second weekend gross, the final numbers actually grew considerably from the estimates reported Sunday. It’s still too early to say whether the box office on The Way of Water will, like James Cameron’s last two films Avatar and Titanic, be another one for the record books, but the strong performance through the holidays so far indicates that we can’t yet rule it out.

TWOW grossed $32.3 million Monday and $24.1 million Tuesday, ahead of the respective Monday ($24.7 million) and Tuesday ($21.3 million) last December for Spider-Man: No Way Home ($21.3 million), which is the third highest grossing film of all time domestically with $805 million in its original run. The MCU film had a second weekend (with Christmas on Saturday) of $84.5 million, ahead of Avatar 2’s second weekend of $63.3 million, and a third weekend (with New Year’s Day on Saturday) of $56 million. It’s no sure shot, but it wouldn’t be a shock for The Way of Water to match or beat that this weekend, especially given that the first Avatar was down just 9.4% in its third weekend with a gross of $68.5 million (note that Avatar had the advantage of not having the relatively low-grossing New Year’s Eve holiday fall over the weekend).

Looking at the box office of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (which released the same date as Avatar: TWOW in 2016 when the calendar lined up exactly with this December, making it a good point of comparison on a day-by-day and weekend-by-weekend basis particularly through the holiday season), it followed its $64 million second weekend, marginally higher than Avatar 2’s, with a $32.1 million Monday and $22.5 Tuesday, both marginally lower than Avatar 2’s. Rogue One had a third weekend of $49.6 million (a 23% drop), which TWOW shouldn’t have trouble meeting and likely exceeding, even as the winter storm continues to rage. TWOW is holding stronger than Rogue One, which opened 16% better than TWOW ($155 million compared to $134 million) but had a 12 day cume just 7.3% ahead ($341 million compared to $317 million), and that’s with TWOW’s gross being held back by the storm. Whether or not Avatar 2 can pull ahead of Rogue One this weekend, it will end its third weekend over $400 million, and it will soon become the year’s second highest domestic grosser (currentlyBlack Panther: Wakanda Forever with $430 million, though that number rises daily).

Beyond Avatar 2, there is unfortunately little action at the box office, and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is the only other title to even have a chance of going above $10 million this weekend. The animated sequel has a soft $32.7 million to date, but it looks to hold well and its Monday ($6.8 million) and Tuesday ($6.7 million) grosses actually improved from the Christmas Sunday gross ($5.8 million). Considering the strong word of mouth (A CinemaScore), the drop this weekend should be negligible from last weekend’s $12.4 million cume, as seen last year when Sing 2 dropped 9.7% in its second weekend. It could even improve in its second weekend, which isn’t unusual for family films released in mid-to-late December (the first Sing grew 22% in its second weekend after it released on the same date as The Last Wish in 2016 when the calendar matched this year, making it a good comp). Though the seven day cume is 40% behind that of Sing 2, the Monday and Tuesday grosses average at just 11% behind those of Sing 2, so it could continue to play catch-up to some extent.

As for something new on the menu this weekend, New Yorkers and Angelinos will be able to see A Man Called Otto, the Tom Hanks starring adaptation of the novel A Man Called Ove which had a Swedish adaptation of the same name in 2015. The well reviewed (72% on Rotten Tomatoes, though only 32 reviews are in so far) dramedy expands nationwide over the next two weekends.