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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Becomes the First Top Rank Movie of 2023

Avatar: The Way of Water

James Cameron and his blue brotherhood have a very happy new year as Avatar: The Way of Water continues to rule the box office for a third straight week.

The sequel to the highest-grossing movie ever is doing well for itself; Comscore estimates that it made $63 point 4 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $421 point 5 million.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s current eight-week total of $437.9 million is now only $16 million away.

With a global cume of $957 million after generating an additional $186.7 million, The Way of Water became the second highest-grossing international release since the pandemic’s start and the biggest international release of 2022.

Last Monday, Cameron’s blockbuster passed the $1 billion mark globally, bringing its current total to $1.38 billion.

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Domestic and Global Hits

Universal’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish made $16.3 million in its second week of release, bringing its domestic revenue to $60.7 million ($129.5 million globally).

Wakanda Forever, the third sequel in the top three movies at the box office, brought in an additional $4.8 million this weekend and $7.4 million internationally, bringing its global total to $818.4 million.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, a musical biography, came in fourth place with $4.2 million and a domestic box office of $14.8 million. Internationally, it did a little better, earning $8.3 million, bringing its worldwide total to $27.9 million.

Damien Chazelle’s star-studded tribute to Old Hollywood, Babylon, which earned $2.7 million for a domestic haul of just $10.1 million, rounds out the year’s top five films.

Notably, no new films debuted in the top 10 at the box office this past weekend. However Tom Hanks’ A Man Called Otto debuted in four locations in New York and Los Angeles. 

The much-discussed dancing doll from hell horror movie M3GAN made $3.3 million in its overseas debuts in France, Mexico, and Belgium.

Way of Water Exceeds $1 Billion

A winter storm blew across the nation this Christmas, but Pandora was pleasantly warm and cozy.

In just two weeks, Avatar: The Way of Water has already raked in over $1 billion at international box offices. James Cameron’s expensive follow-up brought in an estimated $56 million during the holiday weekend, according to Comscore.

The Disney and 20th Century film’s worldwide gross as of Tuesday stood at $1.025 billion after grossing $317.1 million in North America and another $712.7 million abroad.

After Top Gun: Maverick ($1.49 billion), Way of Water is now the second-highest-grossing film of the year, surpassing Jurassic World Dominion. Nevertheless, it took Maverick a month to surpass the $1 billion mark and Jurassic World Dominion over four months.

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Successful Movies

Things were noticeably cooler for several of the new Christmas releases this year. I Wanna Dance with Somebody, the Whitney Houston biography, earned an estimated $5.3 million, while Puss in Boots: The Last Wish came in second with an estimated $11.4 million.

The old Hollywood drama Babylon, directed by Damien Chazelle, only made $3.5 million over the holiday weekend. That’s a gloomy statistic, especially considering that Babylon had a broad release in over 3,300 theaters.

Babylon features a star-studded ensemble that includes actors like Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt. Still, the film has received poor reviews, earning a terrible C+ CinemaScore from viewers and a 54 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.

According to Deadline, Babylon must generate $250 million worldwide for Paramount to break even after budget and marketing expenses; this is a figure that looks unlikely to be achieved.

Comscore says the following is the complete top 10 list for this year’s domestic Christmas box office:

  1. Avatar: The Way of Water— $56 million
  2. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish — $11.4 million
  3. Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody — $5.3 million
  4. Babylon — $.3.5 million
  5. Violent Night — $3.1 million
  6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — $3 million
  7. The Whale — $924,000
  8. The Menu — $671,000
  9. The Fabelmans — $550,000
  10. Strange World — $410,000

Smash Hits

This past weekend, moviegoers traveled to Pandora, earning James Cameron the top spot at the box office.

According to Comscore, Avatar: The Way of Water made $134 million in its domestic debut and another $301 million elsewhere, for a total worldwide of $435 million.

The sci-fi epic comes in third place among pandemic debuts, after only Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($442 million) and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($600 million).

The first Avatar opened in 2009 and is still the most successful movie ever made. It opened with $77 million in the United States and Canada and held the top spot for seven weeks before rising to $760 million and $2.92 billion globally.

The film’s 3-hour and 12-minute running duration might put off repeat moviegoers, but it remains to be seen if the sequel will continue down that path.

“Equally important with length is pace — and the order of information and the engagement factor. As long as people are engaged, you’re good to go,” Cameron said. 

Cameron is certain that viewers will continue to be interested.

“I feel like we managed to jump through all those hoops,” he added. “People seem pretty engaged.”

Photo: Leawo

Opinions expressed by Entertainment Monthly News contributors are their own.

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