Long Range Box Office Forecast: Avatar: The Way of Water Tracking Climbs as Pre-Sales Reinforce Expectation for a Marathon Run

Photo Credits: Disney & 20th Century Studios ("Avatar: The Way of Water"); Universal & DreamWorks Animation ("Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"); Sony ("I Wanna Dance with Somebody")

As four-week tracking runs into the end of the year this week, no new additions join the report as studios currently have their slate of wide releases set for prior to December 30.

Next week, look for first public tracking on Universal Pictures’ M3GAN as it’s set to open on January 6, 2023.

With that in mind, though, here’s a quick recap of where things stand for key releases set to hit theaters over the remainder of this holiday season:


  • Avatar: The Way of Water continues to ramp up marketing with increased social impressions and engagement over the past two weeks since tickets went on sale. Combined with positive pre-sale trends and consumer sentiment, forecasts are beginning to shift toward the mid-to-upper of tracking ranges — the upper bounds of which are showing signs of expansion due in part to higher average ticket prices than recent blockbusters.

    A leggy run, on top of a potential all-time top 4 or 5 debut among December releases, remains highly likely. The pace of back-loaded post-preview sales for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are beginning to align more closely with the likes of Top Gun: Maverick rather than the Thursday-heavy trends of franchise films from Marvel or The Batman.
  • Despite the recent underperformance of Disney’s Strange World, families are still expected to turn out in stronger numbers for Puss in Boots: The Last Wish later this month. The sequel held Early Access screenings over Thanksgiving weekend with healthy turnouts that reinforce prior tracking ranges.


  • As expected, Father Stu: Reborn isn’t generating much traction as next week’s re-issue trends down from already conservative expectations.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2022’s Upcoming Calendar
(as of 12/2/22)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range Pinpoint % Chg from Last Week Distributor
12/9/2022 Empire of Light (Limited)         Searchlight Pictures
12/9/2022 Father Stu: Reborn $250,000 – $750,000 -33% $500,000 – $1,875,000 -33% Sony / Columbia Pictures
12/9/2022 Spoiler Alert (Expansion)         Focus Features
12/9/2022 The Whale (Platform)         A24
12/16/2022 Avatar: The Way of Water $150,000,000 – $180,000,000 +13% $526,000,000 – $741,000,000 +13% Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/21/2022 Puss In Boots: The Last Wish $14,000,000 – $23,000,000   $95,000,000 – $160,000,000   Universal Pictures / DreamWorks Animation
12/21/2022 The Whale (Expansion; Platform on Dec. 9)         A24
12/23/2022 Babylon $4,000,000 – $9,000,000   $18,000,000 – $39,000,000   Paramount Pictures
12/23/2022 I Wanna Dance With Somebody $10,000,000 – $15,000,000   $65,000,000 – $115,000,000   Sony Pictures / TriStar Pictures
12/23/2022 Women Talking (Platform/Limited)         United Artists Releasing
12/30/2022 (no releases scheduled)          

Unless otherwise noted, all above figures represent best and worst case scenarios for how each respective film is currently tracking based on existing market conditions and projected model fluctuation before release. These are not final forecasts.

Additional pinpoint opening weekend and domestic total projections are available to clients. For more information on forecasts, pricing, and availability, please contact us.

Photo Credits: Disney & 20th Century Studios ("Avatar: The Way of Water"); Universal & DreamWorks Animation ("Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"); Sony ("I Wanna Dance with Somebody")

News Stories