Weekend Box Office: Avatar: The Way of Water Earns Seventh-Highest Sixth Weekend Ever

Avatar: The Way of Water, Courtesy of 20th Century Studios / Walt Disney Studios

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic weekend)

20th Century Studios’ sci-fi sequel Avatar: The Way of Water claimed the #7 sixth weekend of all time, with a -40% decline to $19.6M, 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

$19.6M

#7

Among all sixth weekends, it ranks behind only:

  1. 2009’s Avatar ($34.9M)
  2. 2014’s American Sniper ($30.6M), following three weekends of limited release, so really its third wide frame
  3. 2013’s Frozen ($28.5M), following one weekend of limited release, so really its fifth wide frame
  4. 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick ($25.8M)
  5. 1997’s Titanic ($25.2M)
  6. 2008’s Gran Torino ($21.9M), following four weekends of limited release, so really its second wide frame

However, three of those six films which outrank Water come with asterisks, because they began in limited release before expanding wide. Accordingly, Sniper’s official sixth weekend was “really” in its third such frame in wide release, Frozen’s was in its fifth such frame, and Torino was in its second such frame.

So if judging solely by the sixth weekend of wide release, Water would actually be fourth place all time, instead of seventh place.

Avatar: The Way of Water (domestic total)

Through 38 days, Water has now earned $597.9M 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 +6% ahead of Maverick through the same point in release – although that’s down from running +8% 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%

+8%

+6%

Down

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

-26%

+37%

+42%

Up

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

-28%

+44%

+50%

Up

Jurassic World: Dominion

-7%

+60%

+66%

Up

The Batman

<+1%

+61%

+66%

Up

Thor: Love and Thunder

-7%

+78%

+83%

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%

+14%

+8%

Down

2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-46%

-34%

-32%

Up

2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home

-48%

-19%

-17%

Up

2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

-39%

-5%

-1%

Up

2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

-24%

+14%

+19%

Up

2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

-13%

+13%

+16%

Up

Water has also earned $79.4M 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 has earned $1.42B, for a $2.02B global 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)

Water is also now the #6 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)

Two and a half weeks ago, Water surpassed Maverick to become the biggest global release from 2022. Compared to Maverick’s $1.48B global total, Water is now +36% ahead and counting.

Water’s top overseas totals to date include:

  1. China ($229.7M)
  2. France ($129.8M)
  3. Germany ($117.0M)
  4. South Korea ($96.9M)
  5. U.K. ($81.9M)
  6. India ($57.9M)
  7. Australia ($55.1M)
  8. Mexico ($51.4M)
  9. Spain ($47.0M)
  10. Italy ($45.3M)

So far, the film has earned 70.4% of its global total from overseas. That’s less than Avatar during its original run (72.7%), but notably higher than Maverick (51.7%).

Last weekend, Water’s China earnings overtook the amount Avatar earned there during its original run ($202.6M). Water is the #2 biggest film from 2022 in that country, behind only the local title Water Gate Bridge.

Water has earned $148M from IMAX overseas. That’s the #2 highest total of all time, behind only 2019’s Avengers: Endgame ($150M).

Water has also earned $227M from IMAX globally. That’s the #2 total of all time, behind only 2009’s Avatar ($270M).

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Last weekend in its fourth frame, the Universal / DreamWorks animation sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish actually improved +1% to $14.4M, repeating in third place. 

Now in its fifth frame, the film declines only -21% to $11.5M, actually rising to second place.

For context, the film 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 it now makes a rare comeback to the runner-up slot.

It also overtakes 2022’s Lightyear, after running behind it at the box office for about a full month.

Since Wish was released on a Wednesday, its 33-day total stands at $126.4M. 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

-15%

-7%

Up

June’s Lightyear

-6%

+9%

Up

July’s DC League of Super Pets

+54%

+69%

Up

April’s The Bad Guys

+58%

+67%

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

-70%

-66%

Up

2007’s Shrek the Third

-62%

-57%

Up

2010’s Shrek Forever After

-50%

-43%

Up

2011’s Puss in Boots

-15%

-7%

Up

Overseas, Wish has earned $171.0M from 78 markets, for a $297.5M global total.

So far, the film has earned 57% 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 42% of its predecessor overseas and 53% globally.

The top five overseas totals to date for Wish are:

  1. France ($18.2M)
  2. Mexico ($16.5M)
  3. Germany ($12.5M)
  4. Australia ($10.8M)
  5. Brazil ($9.6M)

It’s also earned a disappointing $6.6M so far from China.

M3GAN

Two frames ago, Universal’s PG-13 horror M3GAN exceeded expectations with $30.4M in second place. That was above pre-release projections, which were generally in the $24M-$28M range.

In its sophomore frame, it fell -40% to $18.3M, repeating in second place. That drop was about in line with projections.

Now In its third frame, it declines -46% to $9.8M, falling one rank to third place. That’s slightly steeper than most projections, which were around $10M-$11M.

Through 17 days, M3GAN has earned $73.2M 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%

+11%

+2%

Down

2022’s Barbarian

2.88x

2.69x

2.57x

Down

2022’s The Black Phone

+28%

+19%

+17%

Down

2019’s Escape Room

+66%

+75%

+78%

Up

2019’s Child’s Play

2.15x

2.41x

2.73x

Up

Overseas, it’s earned $51.3M in 66 markets, for a $124.6M global total. Top overseas market totals include:

  1. Mexico ($7.7M)
  2. U.K. ($5.7M)
  3. France ($3.5M)
  4. Spain ($2.87M)
  5. Australia ($2.85M)
  6. Germany ($2.7M)
  7. Italy ($2.2M)

Missing

Sony Pictures’ mystery thriller Missing, which takes place entirely on digital screens, opened with $9.3M in fourth place.

That opening is also +53% above 2018’s Searching ($6.0M).

A Man Called Otto

Last weekend, Sony Pictures’ comedy A Man Called Otto expanded wide and earned $12.6M, repeating in fourth place. That was about in line with weekend projections.

Notably, the film played well in middle America, with none of the film’s 75 highest-earning theaters last weekend located in New York City or Los Angeles.

Now in its second frame of wide release, the film falls a mild -30% to $9.0M, for fifth place. That’s also about in line with projections.

Compared to other Hanks films from the past dozen years, that sophomore drop is steeper than…

  • 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (-11% on Thanksgiving weekend, then -56% after that)
  • 2015’s Bridge of Spies (-26%)

…but milder than:

  • 2011’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (-31%)
  • 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks (-35%)
  • 2013’s Captain Phillips (-36%)
  • 2016’s The Sully (-38%)
  • 2017’s The Post (-39%)
  • 2011’s Larry Crowne (-55%)
  • 2016’s Inferno (-59%)

Overseas, Otto has earned $20.0M from 31 markets, for a $55.3M global total.

It declined only -26% in overseas holdover markets this weekend, an even better hold than its -30% domestic drop.

Plane

Last weekend, Lionsgate’s action thriller Plane starring Gerard Butler opened to $10.2M in fifth place.

Now in its second frame, it falls -49% to $5.2M and sixth place.

Compared to other action thrillers starring Butler in recent years, that sophomore drop is steeper than…

  • 2018’s Den of Thieves (-43%)
  • 2016’s Angel Has Fallen (-45%)
  • 2021’s CopShop (-45%)
  • 2018’s Hunter Killer (-47%)

…but milder than:

  • 2016’s London Has Fallen (-50%)
  • 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen (-53%)
  • 2017’s Geostorm (-57%)

2016’s Gods of Egypt (-63%)

House Party

Last weekend, 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.

 Now in its sophomore frame, it falls a steep -55% to $1.7M and seventh place.

Compared to other “party gone wrong” films, that’s a steeper sophomore drop than:

  • 2013’s 21 and Over (-42%)
  • 2013’s Spring Breakers (-43%)
  • 2012’s Project X (-47%)

2016’s Office Christmas Party (-49%)

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond

Crunchyroll’s anime That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bond opened to $1.4M in eighth place, in 1,473 theaters.

Yes, that’s the actual title. The Japanese film follows a 37-year-old man who dies and comes back to life as – well, you can probably guess.

The Whale

In its seventh frame, A24’s drama The Whale expanded to its highest screen count yet, from exactly 1,500 to 1,591 theaters. It earns $1.2M for 10th place, down -15% from last frame.

The film has now earned $13.1M to date. Among awards contender films, it may even surpass The Fabelmans (currently at $14.9M), an outcome few would have projected pre-release.

Weekend comparisons

Total box office this weekend came in around $73.2M. 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

$102.9M

-29%

Avatar: The Way of Water led for a fifth consecutive frame ($32.8M)

Same weekend in 2022

$46.1M

+58%

Spider-Man: No Way Home led for a fifth nonconsecutive frame ($14.0M)

Same weekend in 2019

$129.7M

-43%

Glass led ($40.3M)

YTD comparisons

Year-to-date box office stands around $441.7M, which is:

Year

YTD total

2022 YTD after last weekend:

2022 YTD now:

Trendline

2022

$304.1M

+45%

+45.2%

Up

2019

$690.4M

-29%

-31.1%

Down

Top distributors

The YTD leaders are:

  1. 20th Century Studios, owned by Disney ($196.9M)
  2. Universal ($150.2M)
  3. Sony Pictures ($54.5M)
  4. Disney ($16.4M)
  5. Warner Bros. ($7.2M)
  6. Paramount ($6.1M)

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: 

Title  Estimated weekend  % change Locations Location change Average  Total  Weekend Distributor
Avatar: The Way of Water $19,685,000 -40% 3,790 -255 $5,194 $597,961,353 6 20th Century Studios
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish $11,500,000 -21% 3,611 -76 $3,185 $126,460,470 5 Universal
M3GAN $9,800,000 -46% 3,628 23 $2,701 $73,287,510 3 Universal
Missing $9,300,000   3,025   $3,074 $9,300,000 1 Sony Pictures
A Man Called Otto $9,000,000 -30% 3,802   $2,367 $35,346,249 4 Sony Pictures
Plane $5,250,000 -49% 3,060 37 $1,716 $19,457,616 2 Lionsgate
House Party $1,775,000 -55% 1,400   $1,268 $7,185,508 2 Warner Bros.
That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime: Scarlet Bond $1,459,515   1,473   $991 $1,459,515 1 Crunchyroll
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever $1,397,000 -43% 1,525 -385 $916 $451,877,752 11 Walt Disney
The Whale $1,281,249 -15% 1,591 91 $805 $13,191,971 7 A24
Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody $500,000 -57% 1,308 -897 $382 $23,004,389 5 Sony Pictures
Skinamarink $448,000 -45% 809 117 $554 $1,512,509 2 IFC Midnight
The Fabelmans $430,000 -21% 947 139 $454 $14,976,575 11 Universal
Women Talking $380,000 89% 153 121 $2,484 $1,122,943 5 United Artists
Babylon $205,000 -60% 289 -389 $709 $15,217,000 5 Paramount
Broker $150,900 -52% 206 -65 $733 $845,779 4 Neon
When You Finish Saving the World $140,969   403   $350 $140,969 1 A24
The Menu $104,000 -62% 195 -155 $533 $38,418,206 10 Searchlight
The Devil Conspiracy $85,000 -81% 460 -465 $185 $719,491 2 Third Day Productions
The Banshees of Inisherin $72,000 -12% 155 100 $465 $9,391,453 14 Searchlight
TÁR $70,000 -3% 106 46 $660 $5,924,040 16 Focus Features
EO $55,365 5% 80 10 $692 $752,528 10 Janus Films
Strange World $37,000 -64% 170 -440 $218 $37,940,161 9 Walt Disney
Corsage $36,000 -62% 70 -132 $514 $661,667 5 IFC Films
Saint Omer $27,000 -61% 245   $110 $143,859 7 Super LTD
No Bears $22,085 91% 6 4 $3,681 $83,008 5 Janus Films
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed $17,000 54% 24 8 $708 $377,363 9 Neon
Empire of Light $7,000 -66% 22 -26 $318 $1,168,747 7 Searchlight

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