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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Has a Subdued Start on the Box Office


After three pandemic-battered years on the box office, Hollywood desperately wanted “Avatar: The Way of Water,” the sequel to the top-grossing film on record, to reach like a ticket-selling tsunami. Surveys that track audience interest suggested that “The Way of Water” could arrive to as much as $175 million in opening-weekend ticket sales in america and Canada.

It was to not be.

The ultraexpensive event movie collected about $134 million at North American theaters over its first three days, in response to Comscore, which compiles ticketing data. Directed by James Cameron and revisiting the fantasy world of Pandora, “The Way of Water” cost Disney an estimated $600 million to make and market. Three more sequels are planned.

But there should still be a way for “The Way of Water” to turn out to be a giant, blue juggernaut — possibly even surpassing the $2 billion in global sales that Cameron publicly set because the benchmark for financial success, given the film’s stratospheric production and marketing costs. Consider what happened with the primary “Avatar” in 2009. It arrived to a soft $77 million and went on to gross $2.9 billion worldwide.

“It’s not the type of movie which you can analyze by taking a look at how the primary weekend did,” said Richard L. Gelfond, the chief executive of IMAX Corporation. “It’s all about the way it holds on. I feel the legs are going to be really strong.”

IMAX is planning to play “The Way of Water” until the top of January, partly because there could be very little competition until then. Studios typically flood theaters with spectacles presently of 12 months because the vacations leave so many individuals with time on their hands. But multiple event movies were pushed into 2023 due to pandemic-related slowdowns in production.

The director James Cameron takes us back to the world of Pandora for the sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

AMC Entertainment, the world’s No. 1 multiplex operator, has greater than 100,000 showtimes and 10 million seats on sale for “The Way of Water” through Latest 12 months’s Day in america alone.

“The Way of Water” also arrived in cinemas in almost every international market over the weekend, collecting a further $300.5 million, for a healthy global opening total of $434.5 million, in response to Disney. It was the second-highest global opening for the 12 months, behind “Doctor Strange within the Multiverse of Madness.”

The highest international marketplace for “The Way of Water” was China, where the movie arrived to $57.1 million in ticket sales, despite restrictions on theater capability in some major cities due to coronavirus outbreaks. Also in China, IMAX delivered its biggest opening weekend marketing share ever, accounting for 27 percent of the box office within the country on only one percent of total screens.

In North America, an unusually large percentage of ticket sales for “The Way of Water” got here from IMAX theaters and other premium-format locations, including those with 3-D presentation. Those venues accounted for 62 percent of the film’s domestic total, in response to Disney. Some people could have had a difficult time finding tickets to such screenings — sellouts were common — and decided to attend, box office analysts said.

“The Way of Water,” an ecological parable that could be a hybrid of live-action footage and specialized animation, has a marathon run time of three hours and 12 minutes, which could have been an excessive amount of of a commitment for some people on the weekend before Christmas. But most box office analysts don’t see length as an issue for “The Way of Water” in the long term, partly because reviews have been quite positive. Ticket buyers gave the movie an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls.

(The primary “Avatar” was two hours and 42 minutes long. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” with a run time of three hours and 29 minutes, holds the length record for a no-intermission, wide-release film, in response to Comscore.)

“Expectations aside, that is an impressive opening,” said David A. Gross, a movie consultant who publishes a newsletter on box office numbers, noting that “The Way of Water” arrived to stronger ticket sales than most superhero sequels. “The movie is about up for a really strong run,” he added.

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