Weekend Box Office: Avatar: The Way of Water Earns Third-Highest Fifth Weekend Ever

Photo Credits: Disney & 20th Century Studios ("Avatar: The Way of Water"); Universal & Blumhouse ("M3GAN"); Sony ("A Man Called Otto"); Lionsgate ("Plane"); Warner Bros. ("House Party")

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic weekend)

20th Century Studios’ sci-fi sequel Avatar: The Way of Water claimed the #3 fifth weekend of all time, with a -32% decline to $31.1M, 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

$31.1M

#3

Among all fifth weekends, it ranks behind only 2014’s American Sniper ($64.6M) and the original Avatar ($42.7M).

Sniper comes with an asterisk, since its fifth overall frame was actually its second frame of wide release, following a three-week limited release rollout to qualify for awards season. So if judging solely by the fifth weekend of wide release, Water would actually be second place all time, instead of third place.

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic total)

Though 31 days, Water has now earned $562.9M domestically. That makes It the #2 release from 2022 so far, despite only achieving the #5 opening weekend of the year.

Overall, it still ranks behind the total of Top Gun: Maverick, at least for the moment. However, it’s currently running +8% ahead of Maverick through the same point in release – although that’s down from being +10% 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%

+10%

+8%

Down

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

-26%

+31%

+37%

Up

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

-28%

+39%

+44%

Up

Jurassic World: Dominion

-7%

+55%

+60%

Up

The Batman

<+1%

+55%

+61%

Up

Thor: Love and Thunder

-7%

+71%

+78%

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%

+19%

+14%

Down

2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-46%

-36%

-34%

Up

2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home

-48%

-22%

-19%

Up

2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

-39%

-9%

-5%

Up

2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

-24%

+8%

+14%

Up

2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

-13%

+8%

+13%

Up

Water has also earned $75.2M from IMAX domestically, the #3 title released in that format of all time.

Avatar: The Way of Water (overseas / global)

Overseas, Water has earned $1.33B, for a $1.89B global total.

A week and a half ago, Water surpassed Maverick to become the biggest global release from 2022. Versus Maverick’s $1.48B global total, Water is now +27% ahead and counting.

Water is also now the #7 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)
  4. 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.06B)
  5. 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War ($2.04B)
  6. 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.91B)

Water’s top overseas totals to date include:

  1. China ($211.8M)
  2. France ($120.5M)
  3. Germany ($106.9M)
  4. South Korea ($92.7M)
  5. U.K. ($76.8M)
  6. India ($56.7M)
  7. Australia ($50.9M)
  8. Mexico ($48.8M)
  9. Spain ($43.7M)
  10. Italy ($43.1M)

So far, the film has earned 70.2% of its global total from overseas. That’s less than Avatar during its original run (72.7%), but notably higher than Maverick (51.7%).

This weekend, China’s $211.8M overtook the amount Avatar earned there during its original run ($202.6M). It’s the #3 biggest film from 2022 in that country, behind the two local titles Water Gate Bridge and Too Cool to Kill.

Water has also earned $211.5M from IMAX globally, the #3 total of all time.

M3GAN

Last weekend, Universal’s PG-13 horror M3GAN exceeded expectations with $30.4M in second place. Now in its sophomore frame, it falls -41% to $17.9M, repeating in second place. That drop is in line with projections.

Versus other comparable horror releases, that sophomore frame drop is steeper than…

  • 2022’s Smile (-18%)
  • 2022’s Barbarian (-38%)

…but milder than:

  • 2022’s The Black Phone (-48%)
  • 2019’s Escape Room (-51%)
  • 2019’s Child’s Play (-69%)

M3GAN also slightly expanded from 3,509 to 3,605 theaters.

Overseas, it’s earned $34.2M in 64 markets, for a $90.6M global total. Top overseas market totals include:

  1. Mexico ($6.4M)
  2. France ($3.1M)
  3. U.K. ($2.9M)
  4. Spain ($2.1M)
  5. Italy ($1.8M)

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

The Universal / DreamWorks animation sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish declined a negligible -1% to $13.4M and third place.

Since Wish was released on a Wednesday, its 26-day total stands at $106.3M. 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

-20%

-15%

Up

June’s Lightyear

-18%

-6%

Up

July’s DC League of Super Pets

+45%

+54%

Up

April’s The Bad Guys

+50%

+58%

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:

Film

Wish total after last weekend

Wish total now

Trendline

2004’s Shrek 2

-74%

-70%

Up

2007’s Shrek the Third

-72%

-62%

Up

2010’s Shrek Forever After

-60%

-50%

Up

2011’s Puss in Boots

-20%

-15%

Up

Overseas, Wish has earned $141.0M from 77 markets, for a $247.4M global total.

So far, the film has earned 57.0% of its global total from overseas. That’s considerably less than the original Boots during its run, at 73.1% overseas.

For comparison, Boots earned $405.7M overseas and $554.9M globally. Wish looks like it might not reach half of either number.

The top five overseas totals to date for Wish are:

  1. France ($15.5M)
  2. Mexico ($13.0M)
  3. Germany ($10.7M)
  4. Australia ($8.5M)
  5. Brazil ($6.8M)

It’s also earned a disappointing $4.7M so far from China.

A Man Called Otto

Last weekend, Sony Pictures’ comedy A Man Called Otto expanded from four theaters to a “semi-wide” 637.

Its $4.2M earned it fourth place, despite playing in less than one-third the theaters of the fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth place films.

This weekend it expands to a “fully wide” 3,802 theaters, earning $12.6M and repeating in fourth place. That’s about in line with weekend projections.

Compared to other comparable mid-budget Hanks films from the past dozen years, that wide opening is:

  • -4% below 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood also starring Tom Hanks: ($13.2M)
  • -14% below 2016’s Inferno ($14.8M)
  • -17% below 2015’s Bridge of Spies ($15.3M)
  • -3% below 2011’s Larry Crowne ($13.0M)

Overseas, Otto has earned $14.5M from 30 markets, for a $33.3M global total.

Plane

Lionsgate’s action thriller Plane, starring Gerard Butler, opened to $10.0M in fifth place. That’s higher than most pre-release projections, which forecast it closer to $7M-$9M.

Compared to other action thrillers starring Butler in the past half dozen years, the opening is:

  • +50% above 2018’s Hunter Killer ($6.6M)
  • -27% below 2017’s Geostorm ($13.7M)
  • -34% below 2018’s Den of Thieves ($15.2M)

House Party

Warner Bros.’ R-rated comedy House Party failed to get the party started, with a $3.9M debut in sixth place. However, that was still above many pre-release projections, which were as low as $2M.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In its 10th weekend, the Disney / Marvel Studios superhero sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever declines -38% to $2.1M and seventh place.

Compared to 2018’s original Black Panther, Wakanda’s weekends have come in:

Weekend #

Wakanda weekend vs. Panther

Wakanda total vs. Panther

1

-10%

-10%

2

-40%

-28%

3

-31%

-26%

4

-57%

-30%

5

-58%

-32%

6

-68%

-33.6%

7

-69%

-34.5%

8

-41%

-34.1%

9

-39%

-33.9%

10

-55%

-34.0%

Overseas, Wakanda has earned $385.6M, for an $834.6M global total. That’s the #6 global title released in 2022, behind Maverick, Water, Dominion, Multiverse, and Minions: The Rise of Gru.

So far, Water has earned 46.2% of its global total from overseas. That’s slightly less than Panther during its original run, at 48.0% overseas.

The Whale

In its sixth weekend, A24’s drama The Whale expanded to its highest theater count yet, from 835 to exactly 1,500 theaters. It earns $1.45M, down -4% from last frame.

It comes in eighth place, one spot down from its seventh place rank each of the past three weekends.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Sony Pictures’ Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance with Somebody debuted below its “already low” expectations, then fell steeper than many other musician biopics in its second frame.

Now, in its fourth frame, the film drops -51% to $1.1M and ninth place.

Though 24 days, it’s earned $21.9M. That’s far lower than for some other musician biopics, although at least in most cases, Dance’s relative position is improving slightly:

Film

Dance total after last weekend

Dance total now

Trendline

Walk the Line

-75%

-71%

Up

Ray

-68%

-63%

Up

Elvis

-81%

-79%

Up

Bohemian Rhapsody

-87%

-85%

Up

Rocketman

-75%

-71%

Up

Straight Outta Compton

-87%

-85%

Up

Respect

-15%

<+1%

Up

Notorious

-52%

-39%

Up

All Eyez on Me

-60%

-50%

Up

Overseas, Dance has earned $27.1M from 46 markets, for a $49.0M global total.

The film has earned about 55% of its total overseas. That’s less than for Bohemian Rhapsody (76%), higher than Rocketman (51%) and Elvis (47%), and far higher than Respect (26%).

Waltair Veerayya

Friday Entertainment’s Indian Telugu-language action comedy Waltair Veerayya debuted in 10th place with $1.0M.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $98.2M. 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

106,198,898

-7%

Avatar: The Way of Water led for a fourth consecutive frame ($45.8M)

Same weekend in 2022

71,534,496

+37%

Scream led ($30.0M)

Same weekend in 2019

119,640,159

-17%

The Upside led ($20.3M)

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $312.6M, which is:

Year

YTD total

2022 YTD after last weekend:

2022 YTD now:

Trendline

2022

$215.7M

+41%

+45%

Up

2019

$439.6M

-33%

-29%

Up

Top distributors

The YTD leaders are:

  1. 20th Century Studios, owned by Disney ($161.9M)
  2. Universal ($112.6M)
  3. Sony Pictures ($28.2M)
  4. Disney ($13.5M)
  5. Paramount ($5.6M)
  6. Warner Bros. ($3.9M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Avatar: The Way of Water $31,118,000 -32% 4,045 -295 $7,693 $562,919,348 5 20th Century Studios
M3GAN $17,920,000 -41% 3,605 96 $4,971 $56,453,510 2 Universal
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish $13,400,000 -1% 3,687 -232 $3,634 $106,369,975 4 Universal
A Man Called Otto $12,650,000 201% 3,802 3,165 $3,327 $18,873,126 3 Sony Pictures
Plane $10,004,000   3,023   $3,309 $10,004,000 1 Lionsgate
House Party $3,900,000   1,400   $2,786 $3,900,000 1 Warner Bros.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever $2,184,000 -38% 1,910 -345 $1,143 $449,096,372 10 Walt Disney
The Whale $1,450,125 -4% 1,500 665 $967 $10,743,065 6 A24
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody $1,175,000 -51% 2,205 -979 $533 $21,903,718 4 Sony Pictures
Waltair Veerayya $1,080,000   350   $3,086 $1,080,000 1 Friday Entertainment
Skinamarink $746,000   692   $1,078 $746,000 1 IFC Midnight
The Fabelmans $520,000 -12% 808 -190 $644 $14,214,705 10 Universal
Babylon $500,000 -65% 678 -1,703 $737 $14,707,000 4 Paramount
The Devil Conspiracy $414,000   925   $448 $414,000 1 Third Day Productions
Broker $297,000 303% 271 254 $1,096 $482,253 3 Neon
The Menu $268,000 -61% 350 -450 $766 $38,174,997 9 Searchlight
Women Talking $189,000 33% 32 3 $5,906 $602,401 4 United Artists
Corsage $85,000 -66% 202 -115 $421 $553,213 4 IFC Films
Strange World $84,000 -61% 610 35 $138 $37,822,648 8 Walt Disney
The Banshees of Inisherin $76,000 41% 55   $1,382 $9,278,185 13 Searchlight
Violent Night $70,000 -90% 362 -1,619 $193 $49,669,005 7 Universal
TÁR $68,000 19% 60 8 $1,133 $5,799,170 15 Focus Features
Saint Omer $62,500   245   $255 $62,500 6 Super LTD
Empire of Light $20,000 -62% 48 -72 $417 $1,146,961 6 Searchlight
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed $11,900 -21% 16 -8 $744 $347,517 8 Neon

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