Weekend Box Office: Avatar: The Way of Water Climbs to Fourth Highest-Grossing Film of All Time Globally

Photo Credits: Disney & 20th Century Studios ("Avatar: The Way of Water"); Universal & Blumhouse ("M3GAN"); Sony ("A Man Called Otto"); Universal ("Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"); A24 ("Everything Everywhere All at Once"); Universal ("The Fabelmans")

Monday Update: Yash Raj Films’ Indian Hindi-language action thriller Pathaan opened above its original weekend projection. The distributor forecast a $5.9M opening in fifth place back on Sunday, but the Monday actuals came in at $6.8M and third place.


Sunday Update:

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic weekend)

20th Century Studios’ sci-fi sequel Avatar: The Way of Water claimed the #7 seventh weekend of all time, with a mild -22% decline to $15.7M, easily holding onto first place.

All time, Water has earned the:

Weekend #

Gross

All-time ranking

1

$134.1M

#37

2

$63.3M

#30

3

$67.4M

#3

4

$45.8M

#3

5

$32.8M

#3

6

$20.1M

#7

7

$15.7M

#7

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic total)

With $620.5M domestically, Water ranks #11 all time, behind only:

  1. 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($936.6M)
  2. 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($858.3M)
  3. 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home ($814.1M)
  4. 2009’s Avatar ($785.2M)
  5. 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick ($718.7M)
  6. 2018’s Black Panther ($700.4M)
  7. 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War ($678.8M)
  8. 1997’s Titanic ($659.3M)
  9. 2015’s Jurassic World ($653.4M)
  10. 2012’s The Avengers ($623.3M)

Though 45 days, Water has now earned $620.5M domestically. That makes it the #2 release from 2022 so far, despite only achieving the #5 opening weekend of that year.

Overall, it still ranks behind the total of Top Gun: Maverick, at least for the moment. However, it’s currently running +4% ahead of Maverick through the same point in release. (Although that’s down from running +6% ahead after last weekend.)

Compared to other comparable $100M+ openers from 2022, here’s how Water opened and how it’s faring now, through the equivalent point in release.

Water is out-performing every film on this list relative to what the opening weekend comparison would have predicted.

Film

Water opened

Water’s total after last weekend

Water’s total now

Trendline

Top Gun: Maverick

+5%

+6%

+4%

Down

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

-26%

+42%

+45%

Up

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

-28%

+50%

+53%

Up

Jurassic World: Dominion

-7%

+66%

+69%

Up

The Batman

<+1%

+66%

+70%

Up

Thor: Love and Thunder

-7%

+83%

+86%

Up

Compared to the other biggest December releases from recent years, here’s how Water opened and how it’s faring now, through the equivalent point in release.

Except for the original Avatar, Water is out-performing every other film on this list relative to what the opening weekend comparison would have predicted.

Film

Water opened

Water’s total after last weekend

Water’s total now

Trendline

2009’s Avatar

+74%

+8%

+4%

Down

2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-46%

-32%

-30%

Up

2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home

-48%

-17%

-15%

Up

2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

-39%

-1%

+1%

Up

2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

-24%

+19%

+22%

Up

2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

-13%

+16%

+19%

Up

Water has also earned $83M from IMAX domestically. That’s the #3 highest total of all time, behind only 2009’s Avatar ($140M) and 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($125M).

Avatar: The Way of Water (overseas / global)

Overseas, Water declined only -28% this weekend, although that’s still a bit steeper than its -22% domestic drop.

Overseas, Water has earned $1.49B total. That’s the #4 overseas total of all time, behind only:

  1. 2009’s Avatar ($2.13B)
  2. 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($1.94B)
  3. 1997’s Titanic ($1.53B)

Globally, Water has earned $2.11B total. That’s the #4 biggest global earner of all time, behind only:

  1. 2009’s Avatar ($2.92B)
  2. 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($2.79B)
  3. 1997’s Titanic ($2.19B)

Water already surpassed Maverick to become the biggest global release from 2022. Compared to Maverick’s $1.48B global total, Water is now +43% ahead and counting.

Water’s top overseas totals to date include:

  1. China ($237.1M)
  2. France ($136.9M)
  3. Germany ($124.4M)
  4. South Korea ($103.3M)
  5. U.K. ($85.7M)
  6. Australia ($58.6M)
  7. India ($58.4M)
  8. Mexico ($53.3M)
  9. Spain ($49.7M)
  10. Italy ($46.5M)

So far, the film has earned 70.6% of its global total from overseas. That’s slightly less than Avatar during its original run (72.7%), but notably higher than Maverick (51.7%).

Water’s China earnings are +17% ahead of the amount Avatar earned there during its original run ($202.6M). Water is also the #2 biggest film from 2022 in that country, behind only local title Water Gate Bridge.

According to numbers from Endata, Water is also the #40 film of all time in China. Among Hollywood titles, it’s #8 all time in China, behind only:

  1. Avengers: Endgame
  2. The Fate of the Furious
  3. Furious 7
  4. Avengers: Infinity War
  5. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  6. Venom
  7. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Water has earned $156.1M from IMAX overseas. That’s the #1 total of all time, behind the prior record holder, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($150M).

Water has also earned $239M from IMAX globally. That’s the #2 total of all time, behind only 2009’s Avatar ($270M) – but that includes Avatar’s 2010 and 2022 re-releases, meaning Water is now the #1 IMAX title of all time globally based on original release.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Now in its sixth frame, the Universal / DreamWorks animated sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish declines only -10% to $10.6M, repeating in second place.

The film also finally overtakes its predecessor, 2011’s Puss in Boots, through the equivalent point in release.

For context, Wish spent its first two frames in second place, then its third and fourth frames down to third place. Historically, such a drop in rank would almost guarantee it wouldn’t rise once again. Yet in both its fifth and sixth frames, it made a rare comeback to the runner-up slot.

Since Wish was released on a Wednesday, its 40-day total stands at $140.8M. Compared to other films through the equivalent point in release, that’s:

Film

Wish total after last weekend

Wish total now

Trendline

2011’s Puss in Boots

-7%

+0.6%

Up

2022’s Lightyear

+9%

+20%

Up

2022’s DC League of Super Pets

+69%

+71%

Up

2022’s The Bad Guys

+67%

+69%

Up

The Shrek / Puss in Boots series has shown consistently diminishing returns since the high water marks of the second and third installment. Through the same point in releasing, Wish is running below all of them.

However, the trendlines are positive, meaning Wish is holding better than any of those titles at the equivalent point in release:

Film

Wish total after last weekend

Wish total now

Trendline

2004’s Shrek 2

-66%

-64%

Up

2007’s Shrek the Third

-57%

-54%

Up

2010’s Shrek Forever After

-43%

-39%

Up

2011’s Puss in Boots

-7%

+0.6%

Up

Overseas, Wish has earned $193.3M from 79 markets, for a $334.1M global total.

So far, the film has earned 58% of its global total from overseas. That’s considerably less than the original Boots during its run, at 73% overseas.

For comparison, Boots earned $405.7M overseas and $554.9M globally. Wish is currently at only 47% of its predecessor overseas and 60% globally.

The top five overseas totals to date for Wish are:

  1. France ($19.0M)
  2. Mexico ($19.5M)
  3. Germany ($13.6M)
  4. Australia ($12.7M)
  5. Brazil ($11.6M)

A Man Called Otto

In its third frame of wide release, Sony Pictures’ comedy A Man Called Otto rises from fifth place to third place, declining only -23% to $6.7M.

Through three weekends of wide release, it’s now earned $46.0M. Here’s how that compares to other Tom Hanks films from the past dozen years which debuted comparably to Otto’s $12.8M wide opening.

Film

Otto wide opening was:

Otto total after two wide frames

Otto total now, after three wide frames

Trendline

2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 

-3%

+2%

+6%

Up

2015’s Bridge of Spies

-16%

+8%

+1%

Down

2011’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

+27%

+67%

+72%

Up

2013’s Saving Mr. Banks

+32%

-40%

+66%

Up

2017’s The Post 

-33%

-21%

-21%

Steady

2011’s Larry Crowne

-2%

+34%

+45%

Up

2016’s Inferno 

-13%

+35%

+45%

Up

M3GAN

Now In its fourth frame, Universal’s PG-13 horror M3GAN declines -34% to $6.3M, falling from third to fourth place.

Through 24 days, M3GAN has earned $82.2M total. Compared to some other comparable horror releases of recent years, here’s how the film opened and how it’s performing now:

Film

M3GAN opened

M3GAN’s total after last weekend

M3GAN’S total now

Trendline

2022’s Smile

+34%

+2%

-2%

Down

2022’s Barbarian

2.88x

2.57x

2.48x

Down

2022’s The Black Phone

+28%

+17%

+14%

Down

2019’s Escape Room

+66%

+78%

+72%

Down

2019’s Child’s Play

2.15x

2.73x

2.89x

Up

Overseas, M3GAN has earned $63.7M in 75 markets, for a $146.0M global total. The top five overseas market totals include:

  1. Mexico ($8.5M)
  2. U.K. ($7.3M)
  3. Australia ($3.8M)
  4. France ($3.6M)
  5. Germany ($3.5M)

Pathaan

Yash Raj Films’ Indian Hindi-language action thriller Pathaan began in fifth place with $5.9M. Following its midweek release last Wednesday, the film has now earned $8.5M through five days.

Missing

Last weekend, Sony Pictures’ mystery thriller Missing opened in fourth place with $9.1M. That was above pre-release industry projections, which were around $5M-$7M and had it opening as low as sixth place.

That opening was also +53% above 2018’s Searching ($6.0M). Again, some pre-release projections had it opening below Searching entirely.

Now in its sophomore frame, Missing falls -38% to $5.6M, dropping from fourth to sixth place. That’s a steeper drop than Searching, which fell -25%.

Through 10 days, Missing has now earned $17.5M. Compared to some other similar films:

Film

Missing opened wide

Missing’s total after one wide frame

Missing’s total now, after two wide frames

Trendline

2018’s Searching

+51%

+51%

+22%

Down

2015’s Unfriended

-42%

-42%

-30%

Up

Plane

Now in its third frame, Lionsgate’s action thriller Plane starring Gerard Butler falls -28% to $3.8M, dropping from sixth to seventh place.

Through 17 days, Plane has earned $25.3M total. Here’s how that compares to other action thrillers starring Butler in recent years:

Film

Plane opened

Plane’s total after last weekend

Plane’s total now

Trendline

2018’s Den of Thieves

-32.4%

-32.1%

-29%

Up

2016’s Angel Has Fallen

-51.9%

-52.2%

-52.5%

Down

2018’s Hunter Killer

+54%

+50%

+67%

Up

2021’s CopShop

4.43x

4.34x

4.95x

Up

Elsewhere at the box office

  • Neon’s sci-fi horror Infinity Pool opened with $2.7M.
  • Fathom Events’ special Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist debuted with $2.3M.
  • Following its Academy Award-leading 11 nominations last Tuesday, including Best Picture, A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once was re-released in 1,400 theaters and earned $1.0M.
  • After Universal’s The Fabelmans was also nominated for several of the biggest Academy Award categories this week, it expands into 1,962 theaters, its widest release yet. However, its $760K was only its fifth biggest frame to date.
  • Slowly expanding, United Artists Releasing’s Best Picture nominee Women Talking is now playing in 554 theaters. That’s its widest release yet, more than triple its previous high of 153 from last frame. It also cracks the $1M mark for the first time, earning $1.0M.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $68.3M. Compared to the same weekend last frame, last year, and in the last pre-pandemic year of 2019:

Weekend

Total

This weekend is:

Notes

Last weekend

$74.1M

-7%

Avatar: The Way of Water led for a sixth consecutive frame ($20.1M)

Same weekend in 2022

$35.0M

+95%

Spider-Man: No Way Home led for a sixth nonconsecutive frame ($11.0M)

Same weekend in 2019

$103.5M

-34%

Glass led for a second consecutive frame ($18.8M)

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $533.4M, which is:

Year

YTD total

2022 YTD after last weekend:

2022 YTD now:

Trendline

2022

$361.1M

+45.2%

+47.7%

Up

2019

$785.5M

-31.1%

-32.0%

Down

Top distributors

Grouped by parent company, the YTD leaders are:

  1. Disney ($241.0M)
  2. Universal ($175.2M)
  3. Sony Pictures ($76.0M)
  4. Warner Bros. ($8.5M)
  5. Paramount ($6.2M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Avatar: The Way of Water $15,700,000 -22% 3,600 -190 $4,361 $620,580,771 7 20th Century Studios (Disney)
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish $10,620,000 -10% 3,452 -159 $3,076 $140,834,910 6 Universal
A Man Called Otto $6,750,000 -23% 3,957 155 $1,706 $46,052,864 5 Sony Pictures
M3GAN $6,370,000 -34% 3,416 -212 $1,865 $82,273,725 4 Universal
Pathaan $5,947,369   695   $8,557 $8,548,444 1 Yash Raj Films
Missing $5,675,000 -38% 3,025   $1,876 $17,569,417 2 Sony Pictures
Plane $3,825,000 -28% 2,852 -208 $1,341 $25,374,765 3 Lionsgate
The Wandering Earth 2 $3,000,000   142   $21,127 $3,000,000 2 Well Go USA
Infinity Pool $2,725,000   1,835   $1,485 $2,725,000 1 Neon
Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist $2,362,074   1,405   $1,681 $2,972,648 1 Fathom Events
Fear $1,280,942   974   $1,315 $1,280,942 1 Hidden Empire Releasing
Everything Everywhere All At Once $1,014,578   1,400   $725 $71,023,171   A24
The Whale $1,013,271 -20% 1,721 130 $589 $14,915,742 8 A24
Women Talking $1,013,000 167% 554 401 $1,829 $2,394,146 6 United Artists
House Party $800,000 -52% 1,400 n/c $571 $8,440,509 3 Warner Bros.
The Fabelmans $760,000 73% 1,962 1,015 $387 $16,024,110 12 Universal
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever $758,000 -44% 1,030 -495 $736 $453,031,893 12 Walt Disney
Maybe I Do $562,000   465   $1,209 $562,000 1 Vertical Entertainment
The Banshees of Inisherin $353,000 382% 1,205 1,050 $293 $9,807,128 15 Searchlight (Disney)
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody $235,000 -53% 1,308   $180 $23,434,606 6 Sony Pictures
TÁR $173,000 138% 537 431 $322 $6,150,475 17 Focus Features (Universal)
Skinamarink $124,000 -72% 275 -534 $451 $1,861,725 3 IFC Midnight
Broker $70,000 -52% 75 -131 $933 $1,000,010 5 Neon
Close $68,143   4   $17,036 $68,143 9 A24
EO $45,300 -21% 64 -16 $708 $829,530 11 Janus Films
The Menu $29,000 -72% 60 -135 $483 $38,488,437 11 Searchlight (Disney)
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed $17,000 n/c 26 2 $654 $404,818 10 Neon
Strange World $14,000 -64% 60 -110 $233 $37,963,386 10 Walt Disney
Violent Night $12,000 3% 75 -15 $160 $49,722,200 9 Universal
No Bears $10,800 -42% 10 4 $1,080 $103,476 6 Janus Films
The Devil Conspiracy $3,750 -96% 32 -428 $117 $763,581 3 Third Day Productions
Photo Credits: Disney & 20th Century Studios ("Avatar: The Way of Water"); Universal & Blumhouse ("M3GAN"); Sony ("A Man Called Otto"); Universal ("Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"); A24 ("Everything Everywhere All at Once"); Universal ("The Fabelmans")
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