As Christmas week got underway, Avatar: The Way of Water collected $16.2 million Monday at the domestic box office, on par with the first film 13 years ago and with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016.
James Cameron’s big-budget tentpole, from 20th Century Studios and Disney, opened to $134 million in North America this past weekend and $441.6 million worldwide.
The Way of Water finished Monday — its fourth day in action — with a domestic total of $150.3 million. Globally, it will cross $500 million on Tuesday after finishing Monday with a tally of $497.1 million. Its Monday international haul was $38.8 million.
The movie’s performance has propelled Disney past the $4 billion mark in global ticket sales, the best of any Hollywood studio this year.
The movie hopes to make up for a lower-than-expected domestic opening by doing big business over the year-end holidays, when the weekdays can be a like a Saturday in terms of moviegoing. Hollywood and theater owners could use some good news after the box office recovery stalled this fall, due to a general lack of product that’s related to production and postproduction delays tied to the pandemic. Even rival studios believe Avatar 2 will have robust legs, thanks to an A CinemaScore and strong audience exit scores.
The Way of Water cost $350 million to $400 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive pics in Hollywood history. In earlier interviews promoting the sequel, Cameron indicated it would need to gross in the $2 billion range to be considered a success.
On Wednesday, Universal and DreamWorks Animation enter the holiday fray domestically with family pic Puss in Boots: The Last Wishfollowed Friday by Paramount’s star-studded Babylon and Sony’s Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Puss in Boots has already opened in select markets overseas for an early foreign tally of nearly $14 million. Overall, there are fewer films than usual this holiday season.
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