Photo: The Canadian Press
This image released by Sony Pictures shows Naomi Ackie in Tristar’s “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” (Emily Aragones/Sony Pictures via AP)
‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ topped the box office in its second weekend, grossing what studios estimate on Sunday at $56 million in North America – a sign the sequel could stay afloat into the new year and approaching the massive expectations that met its release.
James Cameron’s digital extravaganza for 20th Century Studios grossed $253.7 million domestically in its first 10 days of release, compared to $212.7 million in the same period for the first ‘Avatar’ from 2009, which would go on to become the highest-grossing film of all time. .
While Cameron films like the original ‘Avatar’ and ‘Titanic’ tend to have serious box office legs, sequels tend to open wide and decline rapidly, making it difficult to guess where. where the movie will end. Its second-weekend drop from the $134 million it made in its first wasn’t rushed, given the way blockbusters open.
“This is James Cameron’s first $100 million opening,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore.
Globally, “The Way of Water” is already the third-highest-grossing film released in 2022, grossing $855 million – behind only “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion” – and is a lock for exceed $1 billion.
It’s also clear that the film is looking to the future, with more holidays to come and no comparable competition until February, when Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” was released.
However, storms across the United States could keep people home.
“The biggest enemy Avatar faces right now is the weather,” Dergarabedian said.
Universal’s Shrek animated spin-off, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, finished second with $11.35 million in its weekend. -end of opening.
Sony’s biopic “Whitney Houston: I Want to Dance With Somebody” finished third 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 domestic release, it only grossed $3.5 million, finishing fourth.
Director David O. Russell’s lukewarm $6.5 million October opening weekend, “Amsterdam,” another film, set in a similar time frame, that combined prestige, reach, star power and a famous author, sparked concerns in the industry that audiences just weren’t flocking to theaters for such movies.
The worries proved justified, as “Babylon” barely made it more than halfway through the opening of “Amsterdam.”
The coming weeks in cinemas, streaming screenings and any nominations it might get 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, particularly if he gets more awards.”
Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore, with Wednesday-Sunday in brackets. Final national figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Avatar: The Way of the Water,” $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 dollars.
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.
This story has been corrected to show that weekend studio estimates indicate that “Avatar: The Way of Water” grossed $56 million in North America, not $58 million.
Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.
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