Since its release on December 15, James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, has been building momentum. It has made its box office presence known with an impressive opening weekend of $435 million worldwide. Early estimates also had the film taking the unrivaled top spot at the Christmas box office. Additionally, Variety revealed that The Way of Water had grossed over $855.4 million at the worldwide box office.
Domestically, Avatar: The Way of Water grossed $56 million in its second weekend at 4,202 theaters. The film faced difficulties at the domestic box office as extreme weather conditions impacted cinema attendance over the Christmas weekend. The $56 million figure represents a 58% drop from the film’s domestic debut.
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By comparison, this year’s other highly anticipated sequel, “Black Panther. Wakanda Forever,” which is still in theaters, saw a 63% drop in its second weekend at the domestic box office. Current projections are for “Avatar: The Way of Water” to reach $82 million in its second-week tally through Monday, bringing its domestic total to $278 million.
Internationally, The Way of Water earned $601 million. While crossing the $600 million mark is an important achievement for any film, the sequel has not performed as spectacularly as hoped after securing a widely coveted and unattainable release in China. Despite the anticipated release in China, a new wave of COVID incidents is currently sweeping the country, leading to theater closures and audience turnout, which has significantly impacted Avatar 2’s expected blockbuster success in the Chinese market.
However, the performance itself does not appear to be bad, as the film’s $855.4 million worldwide box office grosses put it in fifth place for the year 2022. It is also expected to cross the $1 billion mark by the end of the year. With this accomplishment, it will join the “Top Gun. Maverick” ranks and tie “Jurassic World. It will join the ranks of two other films, “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World: Dominion,” that have managed to cross the $1 billion mark this year.
Released in 2009, “Avatar” is currently number one all-time at the box office with over $2.9 billion, and the 13-year-old sequel faces a huge challenge. As Cameron puts it, it needs to “become the third or fourth highest grossing film of all time.” Importantly, “Avatar” has been re-released many times over the years, resulting in the $2.9 billion mark.