‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ overcomes ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ at box office
James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” led ticket sales in movie theaters for the sixth straight weekend, making it the first film to have such a sustained reign atop the box office since 2009’s “Avatar.”
The Walt Disney Co.’s “The Way of Water” added $19.7 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Its global total has now surpassed $2 billion, putting it sixth all-time and just ahead of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Domestically, “The Way of Water” is up to $598 million. Continued robust international sales ($56.3 million for the weekend) have helped push the “Avatar” sequel to $2.024 billion worldwide.
A year ago, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also topped the box office for six weekends, but did it over the course of seven weeks. You have to go back to Cameron’s original “Avatar” to find a movie that stayed No. 1 for such a long span. (“Avatar” ultimately topped out at seven weeks.) Before that, the only film in the last 25 years to manage the feat was another Cameron movie: “Titanic” (1997) went undefeated for 15 weeks.
Disney’s ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is the sixth film ever to bring in $1 billion at the global box office within the first two weeks of its release.
“The Way of Water” has now reached a target that Cameron himself set for the very expensive sequel. Ahead of its release, Cameron said becoming “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” was “your break even.”
The box-office domination for “The Way of Water” has been aided in part by a dearth of formidable challengers. The only new wide release from a major studio over the weekend was the thriller “Missing,” from Sony’s Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films. A low-budget sequel to 2018’s “Searching,” starring Storm Reid as a teenager seeking her missing mother, “Missing” plays out across computer screens. The film, budgeted at $7 million, debuted with $9.3 million.
January is typically a slow period in theaters, but a handful of strong-performing holdovers have helped prop up sales.
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Though it didn’t open hugely in December, Universal Pictures’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has had long legs as one of the only family options in theaters over the last month. In its fifth week, it came in second place with $11.5 million domestically and $17.8 million overseas. The “Puss in Boots” sequel has grossed $297.5 million globally.
The creepy doll horror hit “M3GAN,” also from Universal, has likewise continued to pull in moviegoers. It notched $9.8 million in its third week, bringing its domestic haul to $73.3 million.
And while the popularity of horror titles in theaters is nothing new, Sony Pictures’ “A Man Called Otto,” starring Tom Hanks, has flourished in a marketplace that’s been trying for adult-oriented dramas. The picture, a remake of the Swedish film “A Man Called Ove,” about a retired man whose suicide plans are continually foiled by his neighbors, made $9 million in its second week of wide release. It’s taken in $35.3 million domestically through Sunday.
The sincere new dramedy starring Tom Hanks as a widower at the end of his rope reveals just what is missing from so many recent Hollywood studio productions.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $19.7 million.
2. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $11.5 million.
3. “M3GAN,” $9.8 million.
4. “Missing,” $9.3 million.
5. “A Man Called Otto,” $9 million.
6. “Plane,” $5.3 million.
7. “House Party,” $1.8 million.
8. “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie,” $1.5 million.
9. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” $1.4 million.
10. “The Whale,” $1.3 million.
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