The sequel to ‘Avatar’ sails to the second week at the top of the box office

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“Avatar: The Way of Water” topped the box office in its second weekend, taking in what studios estimate Sunday will be a strong $56 million in North America, a sign the sequel can hold its own. float in the new year and get closer to the massive expectation that its premiere aroused.

James Cameron’s digital extravaganza for 20th Century Studios has grossed $253.7 million domestically in its first 10 days of release, compared with $212.7 million in the same period for the first “Avatar.” of 2009, which would become the highest-grossing film of all time. .

While Cameron movies like the original “Avatar” and “Titanic” tend to have strong legs at the box office, sequels tend to open big and decline quickly, complicating guesswork about where the movie will end up. Its second-weekend drop from the $134 million it earned in the first wasn’t precipitous, given the way blockbusters open.

“This is James Cameron’s first $100 million opening,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “For this movie to have such a big opening and only drop 58%, shows that it has staying power.”

Globally, “The Way of Water” is already the third-highest-grossing film released in 2022, grossing $855 million, placing it behind only “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion,” and is poised to surpass the $1 billion. .

It’s also clear for the film looking ahead, with more vacations on the way and no comparable competition until February, when Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” opens.

However, storms in the US could keep people at home.

“The biggest enemy facing Avatar right now is the weather,” Dergarabedian said.

Universal’s animated Shrek spin-off “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, finished a distant second with $11.35 million in its opening weekend.

Sony’s biopic “Whitney Houston: I Want to Dance With Someone” finished in third place with $5.3 million.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend was “Babylon,” the early Hollywood epic from “La La Land” director Damian Chazelle, starring Brad Pitt and Margo Robbie. In a nationwide release, it grossed just $3.5 million and finished in fourth place.

The tepid $6.5 million opening weekend in October of director David O. Russell’s “Amsterdam,” another film, set in a similar period, combining prestige, reach, star power and a celebrated auteur, raised concerns in the film industry. that audiences simply weren’t flocking to theaters to see such movies.

The concerns turned out to be justified, since “Babylon” barely made more than half of the opening of “Amsterdam”.

The next few weeks in theaters, live broadcasts, and any nominations it might get could help “Babylon” move past bombshell status.

“I would say that Babylon is a movie that is not about the opening weekend,” said Dergarabedian. “We’ll have to see what he does in the next few weeks and then into the new year, particularly if he gets any more awards.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at theaters in the US and Canada, according to Comscore, with Wednesday through Sunday in parentheses. The final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Avatar: The Water Path,” $56 million.

2. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $11.35 million.

3. “Whitney Houston: I Want to Dance With Someone,” $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. “The Menu”, $617,000.

9. “The Fabelmans,” $550,000.

10. “Strange World,” $410,000.

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This story has been corrected to show that weekend studio estimates say “Avatar: The Way of Water” brought in $56 million in North America, not $58 million.

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Follow AP entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.


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