The long-awaited science fiction sequel Avatar: The Way of Water from 20th Century Studios opened this weekend to $134.0 million in the U.S. and $434.5 million worldwide. The movie had blue characters, but it made green this weekend.
That is the sixth-best start of the year. It’s also the 38th best beginning ever. It’s also 74% more than the opening of the first Avatar movie, which was $77.0M in 2009.
It played in 4,202 theatres and made an average of $31,889 per theatre. That is the 12th-best average all year. It’s also the fourth most popular wide release of the year, after:
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($41,337)
- Wakanda Forever: Black Panther ($41,251)
- Thor: Love and Thunder, which cost $32,952,
The average per theatre for Water is also +43% higher than the first movie’s opening weekend in 2009 ($22,313)
Here are some facts about Way of Water and how they compare to the first weekend of Avatar’s re-release in September.
- 57% of the domestic earnings came from 3D, much less than the 93% from the re-release of the first movie.
- IMAX made up 12% of the domestic opening ($16.5M), which is less than half of what it was for the re-release of the original movie (when IMAX made up 29%)
- The audience was 56% men, the same as when the original movie was shown again.
- 60% of the audience was 25 or older, slightly more than the re-release of the original film (57%).
- The re-release of the original movie brought in an average of $7,471 per theatre.
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Avatar: The Way of Water: Global
Water opened in 52 markets overseas and made $300.5 million in its first weekend, giving it a global opening of $434.5 million.
That’s the world’s second-best opening weekend of the year, right after Multiverse’s $452 million. It’s also the 11th biggest opening weekend ever around the world. (Although that’s not a perfect comparison since some movies come out at different times in different markets and Water came out at the same time in most of the world.)
The movie made $57.1M in China, the first big non-Chinese release since August’s Minions: The Rise of Gru. That’s +39% more than the first movie made in China in its first week ($40.9M).
Disney and 20th Century Studios say that the movie made all of its money in China from 3D showings.
Globally, the film made 11% of its money from IMAX ($48.8 million), which is less than the percentage of the re-release of the original movie that came from IMAX (20%).
Water’s best totals so far overseas are:
- China ($57.1M)
- South Korea ($24.7M)
- Germany and France each paid $19.9 million.
- India ($18.1M)
- U.K. ($14.2M)
- Mexico ($12.9M)
- Australia ($10.8M)
- Italy ($10.2M)
- Brazil ($8.5M)
Maverick vs. Way of Water
Top Gun: Maverick is the highest-grossing movie of 2022, both in the United States ($718,7M) and worldwide ($1.48B). Now that it looks like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won’t beat either of those marks, Water is the only 2022 movie that could beat Maverick. Does it?
Domestically, it’s possible, but it might not happen. The first Avatar made $749.7 million during its first run, which is +4% more than Maverick’s total. How much the movie drops in its second, third, and fourth frames will determine if Water will beat Maverick.
Water is much more likely to win the crown around the world. This is partly because Avatar came out in China while Maverick didn’t, though Water has also opened there. The original Avatar made $2.74 billion, which is more than $1 billion more than Maverick.
It’s important to know that James Cameron’s movies usually make most of their money after their openings, as word of mouth spreads about how good they are.
In a recent interview, Cameron said, “We’ll know by the third weekend. You won’t know by the end of the first week. That’s not how Titanic worked. “That’s not how Avatar worked.
Wakanda Forever: Black Panther
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a superhero sequel from Disney and Marvel Studios, was the first movie to lead for five straight weeks since Spider-Man: No Way Home in January. However, it fell to second place with a -52% drop to $5.4M, which put it in second place.
Now, Wakanda has earned:
- #13 of all time for best opening weekend ($181.3M).
- #27: Second-biggest weekend ever ($66.4M)
- #13: The third weekend ever ($45.5M)
- A sharp drop to #80 all-time for the fourth weekend ($17.5M).
- #92: Fifth best weekend ever ($11.2M)
- Now that it’s been out for six weeks, it’s no longer in the top 100 of all time.
Compared to the first Black Panther movie, which came out in 2018, Wakanda’s weekends have come in:
- Opening weekend: -10%
- Second weekend: -40%
- Third weekend: -31%
- Fourth weekend: a much steeper hill -57%
- Fifth weekend: -58%
- Now, on the sixth weekend: -68%
In 38 days, Wakanda has made a total of $418.9M. Until the same point in the release, that is:
- -33% behind Black Panther ($631.3M) from 2018.
- -25% behind Top Gun: Maverick ($564.3M) from May.
- +5% more than May’s “Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness,” which made $398.1 million.
- +16% more than The Batman did in March ($358.9M).
- +28% more than Thor: Love and Thunder did in July ($325.4M).
Wakanda was behind Multiverse for the first 11 days, but it caught up on the 12th day after both games came out. Wakanda was ahead of Maverick for the first nine days but fell behind on the 10th day after each movie came out.
Wakanda is the second most popular movie in the U.S. that came out in 2022, after Maverick.
Wakanda has made $367.5M overseas, for a total of $786.5M worldwide. So far, in 2022, this is the fifth most popular game in the world, after Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, Multiverse, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.
Last weekend, the limited release of six theatres for A24’s Oscar-hopeful drama The Whale brought in $332,152, an average of $55,359 per theatre. This is the best per-theater average of 2022 so far.
That was more than March’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, which had an average of $50,131.
This weekend, Whale is still showing in six theatres and is expected to make $169K, reaching an average of $28,304. Even though it wasn’t the weekend the movie opened, that’s the 15th-best weekend average of the year.
Everything’s first-weekend average was lower than Whale’s, but its second-weekend average was about the same: $28,382.
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Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
This weekend, Universal’s animated sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish made an extra $3.8 million overseas, bringing its total overseas gross to $13.5 million. The movie opens in the United States on Wednesday.
So far, France ($4.9M) and Italy ($2.5M) have brought in the most money.
Compared To Last Weekend
Around $152 million was made at the box office this weekend, which is:
- Four times as much as last weekend’s total of $37.6 million, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever took the top spot for the fifth
- week in a row with $11.2 million.
- 3.4 times more than the same weekend in 2021, when West Side Story led with $10.5 million. 29% more than the same weekend in 2019, the last year before the pandemic, when Jumanji: The Next Level led with $59.2 million.
So far this year, the box office has made about $7.01B. That’s:
- +82.6% above this point in 2021 ($3.84B) is less than the +86.8% after last weekend.
- –33.3% behind where they were at the same time in 2019, the last year before the pandemic ($10.52B), up from –33.9% after the weekend.
- The peak was in the middle of July and was around -29.5%.
- Universal (1.46 Billion)
- Disney (1.33 billion dollars)
- How Much? ($1.29B)
- Warner Bros. ($934,0,000,000)
- Sony Pictures (848,1 million)
- Disney owns 20th Century Studios ($308.3M).
Before Water came out this weekend, 20th Century Studios’ total for the year was $174.3M, which was almost doubled in just one weekend.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.