Weekend Box Office: Avatar: The Way of Water Scores #3 Highest Fourth Weekend Ever, M3GAN Beats Projections w/ $30M Debut

Photo Credits: Disney & 20th Century Studios ("Avatar: The Way of Water"); Universal & Blumhouse ("M3GAN")

Avatar: The Way of Water (Domestic)

20th Century Studios’ sci-fi sequel Avatar: The Way of Water claimed the #3 fourth weekend of all time, with a -33% decline to $45.0M, easily holding onto first place.

The film has earned the:

Weekend #

Gross

All-time ranking

1

$134.1M

#37

2

$63.3M

#30

3

$67.4M

#3

4

$45.0M

#3

Last frame, in its third weekend, Water’s third frame ranked behind only 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($90.2M) and the original Avatar ($68.4M).

Now, in its fourth frame, it again earns the #3 fourth weekend of all time. It ranks behind only 2014’s American Sniper ($89.2M) and the original Avatar ($50.3M).

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

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic total)

Though 24 days, Water has now earned $516.7M domestically. Last Monday, it overtook Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to become the #2 release from 2022 so far, though it still ranks behind Top Gun: Maverick at least for the moment.

Indeed, Water exceeded four films from 2022 which boasted higher opening weekends: Wakanda, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Jurassic World: Dominion, and Thor: Love and Thunder.

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 is now running…

Trendline

Top Gun: Maverick

+5%

+10%

Up

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

-26%

+31%

Up

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

-28%

+39%

Up

Jurassic World: Dominion

-7%

+55%

Up

The Batman

<+1%

+55%

Up

Thor: Love and Thunder

-7%

+71%

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 is now running…

Trendline

2009’s Avatar

+74%

+19%

Down

2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-46%

-36%

Up

2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home

-48%

-22%

Up

2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

-39%

-9%

Up

2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

-24%

+8%

Up

2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

-13%

+8%

Up

Water has also earned $67M from IMAX domestically, the #5 total of all time.

Avatar: The Way of Water (Global)

Last Thursday, Water surpassed Maverick to become the biggest global release from 2022.

Overseas, Water has earned $1.19B from 52 markets, for a $1.70B global total. Top overseas totals to date include:

Market

Total

China

$188.3M

France

$107.2M

Germany

$92.6M

South Korea

$85.6M

U.K.

$69.1M

India

$54.6M

Australia

$45.0M

Mexico

$44.5M

Italy

$39.8M

Spain

$38.1M

So far, the film has earned 69.7% of its global total from overseas. That’s less than Avatar during its original run (72.7%), but notably higher than Maverick (51.7%).

So far, China’s $188.3M has comprised 93% of the amount Avatar earned there during its original run ($202.6M). It’s the #7 biggest film from 2022 in that country.

Water has also earned $189M from IMAX domestically, the #4 total of all time.

M3GAN

Universal’s PG-13 horror M3GAN exceeded expectations with a $30.2M second place debut.

That opening is above several other recent stylized or “genre” horror releases:

  • 2.24x December’s Violent Night ($13.4M)
  • +65% above 2019’s Escape Room ($18.2M)
  • +33% above September’s Smile ($22.6M)
  • +27% above June’s The Black Phone ($23.6M)
  • Only -9% below 2017’s Get Out ($33.3M)

M3GAN is also the last true hit opening PG-13 horror film since May 2021’s A Quiet Place Part II ($47.5M).

For comparison, M3GAN opened at more than double the last two PG-13 horror films combined: August’s The Invitation ($6.8M) and October’s Prey for the Devil ($7.1M).

The film earned a “B” average CinemaScore from an audience that was only an estimated 37% white, 53% female, and 56% ages 25+.

Overseas, M3GAN has earned $14.8M in 34 markets, for a $45.0M global total. Top overseas market totals include Mexico ($4.4M), France ($2.5M), Spain ($1.2M), and Italy ($1.0M).

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

The Universal / DreamWorks animation sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish fell -22% to $13.1M and third place.

Since Wish was released on a Wednesday, its 19-day total stands at $87.7M. Compared to other films through the same point in release, that’s:

Film

Wish total after last weekend

Wish total now

Trendline

2011’s Puss in Boots

-24%

-20%

Up

June’s Lightyear

-36%

-18%

Up

July’s DC League of Super Pets

+23%

+45%

Up

April’s The Bad Guys

+31%

+50%

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, though at least the trendlines are positive:

Film

Wish total after last weekend

Wish total now

Trendline

2004’s Shrek 2

-74%

-72%

Up

2007’s Shrek the Third

-72%

-66%

Up

2010’s Shrek Forever After

-60%

-53%

Up

2011’s Puss in Boots

-24%

-20%

Up

Overseas, Wish has earned $109.7M from 77 markets, for a $197.4M global total.

So far, the film has earned 55.5% 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 ($14.5M)
  2. Mexico ($9.6M)
  3. Germany ($8.8M)
  4. Australia ($6.2M)
  5. Spain ($5.4M)

It’s also earned a disappointing $2.9M so far from China.

A Man Called Otto

Ahead of a wide expansion on January 13, Sony Pictures’ comedy A Man Called Otto opened last weekend with $56,257 in four theaters, for a $14,064 per-theater average. That was the #47 average of 2022.

This weekend it expands to a semi-wide 637 theaters, ahead of its expansion to a projected “fully wide” 3,500 theaters next frame. It earns $4.2M and fourth place, for a $6,593 average.

Overseas, the film has earned $8.4M from 10 early markets, for a $12.6M global total. Top overseas market totals include Mexico ($2.9M) and Spain ($1.5M).

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

In its ninth weekend, the Disney / Marvel Studios superhero sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever declines -34% to $3.4M and fifth  place.

Wakanda earned the:

  • #13 opening weekend of all time ($181.3M)
  • #27 second weekend of all time ($66.4M)
  • #13 third weekend of all time ($45.5M)
  • A sharp drop to the #80 fourth weekend of all time ($17.5M)
  • #92 fifth weekend of all time ($11.2M)
  • Since its sixth weekend, it dropped out of the top 100 of all time.

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

Weekend #

Wakanda 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

-41%

-33.9%

For comparison, in its equivalent ninth weekend, 2018’s original Black Panther earned the #49 ninth weekend ever.

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

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

Now, in its third frame, the film drops -39% to $2.4M and sixth place.

Through 17 days, it’s earned $16.7M. That’s far lower than for some other musician biopics, and in most cases Dance is falling further behind those other biopics as time goes on:

Film

Dance total after last weekend

Dance total now

Trendline

Walk the Line

-73%

-75%

Down

Ray

-63%

-68%

Down

Elvis

-78%

-81%

Down

Bohemian Rhapsody

-85%

-87%

Down

Rocketman

-71%

-75%

Down

Straight Outta Compton

-86.9%

-87.5%

Down

Respect

-7%

-15%

Down

Notorious

-54%

-52%

Up

All Eyez on Me

-62%

-60%

Up

Overseas, Dance has earned $21.8M from 46 markets, for a $41.5M global total.

The film has earned about 52% 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%).

Babylon

In its third frame, Paramount’s Roaring Twenties comedy Babylon wasn’t roaring, falling -45% to $1.4M and eighth place.

Though 17 days, it’s earned $13.5M. Versus some other comparable films through the equivalent point in wide release, that’s:

  • -3% below October’s Amsterdam, also set in the 1920s and also starring Margot Robbie ($13.9M)
  • -60% below writer-director Damien Chazelle’s 2016 La La Land ($34.2M)
  • -64% below Chazelle’s prior theatrical release, 2018’s First Man, even though it’s a different genre ($37.8M)

[Read Boxoffice PRO’s interviews with Babylon composer Justin Hurwitz here and costume designer Mary Zophres here.]

Women Talking

Two weekends ago, United Artists Releasing’s drama Women Talking opened with a disappointing $40,530 in eight theaters, for a $5,066 per-theater average. That failed to even crack the top 100 averages of 2022.

In its second frame, it improved by +12% to $45,467 in those same eight theaters, for a slightly better (but still disappointing) $5,683 average.

Now expanding to 29 theaters in its third frame, it earns $142,769, for a $4,923 average.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $104.2M, which is:

Last weekend

This weekend is:

Notes

$103.1M

+1%

Avatar: The Way of Water led for a third consecutive frame with $67.4M

$62.7M

-66%

Spider-Man: No Way Home led for a fourth consecutive frame with $32.6M

$138.8M

-25%

Aquaman led for a third consecutive frame with $31.0M

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $177.3M, which is:

Year

YTD total

2022 YTD after last weekend:

2022 YTD now:

Trendline

2022

$125.9M

-18%

+41%

Up

2019

$264.8M

-44%

-33%

Up

Top distributors

The YTD leaders are:

  1. 20th Century Studios, owned by Disney ($115.7M)
  2. Universal ($66.5M)
  3. Disney ($9.7M)
  4. Sony Pictures ($11.0M)
  5. Paramount ($4.4M)
  6. Warner Bros. (<$1M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates:

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Avatar: The Way of Water $45,000,000 -33% 4,340 138 $10,369 $516,789,379 4 20th Century Studios
M3GAN $30,200,000   3,509   $8,606 $30,200,000 1 Universal
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish $13,120,000 -22% 3,919 -202 $3,348 $87,706,000 3 Universal
A Man Called Otto $4,200,000 7366% 637 633 $6,593 $4,285,000 2 Sony Pictures
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever $3,398,000 -34% 2,255 -55 $1,507 $445,437,616 9 Walt Disney
Whitney Houston I Wanna Dance With Somebody $2,400,000 -39% 3,184 -441 $754 $19,699,000 3 Sony Pictures
The Whale $1,541,201 9% 835 212 $1,846 $8,582,731 5 A24
Babylon $1,430,000 -45% 2,381 -970 $601 $13,524,000 3 Paramount
Violent Night $740,000 -65% 1,981 -582 $374 $49,420,735 6 Universal
The Menu $713,000 -35% 800 -60 $891 $37,655,950 8 Searchlight
The Fabelmans $590,000 -43% 998 -151 $591 $13,358,970 9 Universal
Corsage $250,000 849% 317 314 $789 $340,789 3 IFC Films
Strange World $203,000 -60% 575 -665 $353 $37,685,388 7 Walt Disney
Women Talking $142,769 214% 29 21 $4,923 $142,769 3 United Artists
Broker $75,000 163% 17 13 $4,412 $149,227 2 Neon
EO $65,000 15% 62 18 $1,048 $553,909 8 Janus Films
TÁR $55,000 17% 52 7 $1,058 $5,695,080 14 Focus Features
The Banshees of Inisherin $53,000 -21% 55 -20 $964 $9,161,868 12 Searchlight
Empire of Light $47,000 -60% 120 -180 $392 $1,090,793 5 Searchlight
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed $17,000 37% 24 -2 $708 $325,806 7 Neon
No Bears $7,400 10% 1   $7,400 $38,545 3 Janus Films

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