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The Way of Water’ nears $900 million at the worldwide box office

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Avatar: The Way of Water

Courtesy: Disney Co. 

Disney and James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” snared an estimated $56 million during its second weekend in theaters, a 58% drop from its debut.

A decline in ticket sales is common for blockbuster titles, with most seeing a 50% to 70% slip. This metric, often called the second-week drop, is commonly used as an indicator of whether a movie can have longevity on the box office or may fizzle quickly.

Movies that fall lower than 50% are expected to have solid, long runs, while those who top 70% are more likely to see ticket sales proceed to sharply decline because the movie fades from the general public eye.

“The second-weekend drop for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ puts it right within the zone of where it must be as this performance will set the tone for the continuing box office journey for the film,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

Box office analysts noted that cold winter weather and storms through the Christmas weekend likely led to slower ticket sales domestically.

Moreover, international ticket sales proceed to thrive. The second-week drop for markets outside the U.S. and Canada was 43.9%. It was at all times expected that “The Way of Water” would generate at the very least 70% of its box office from international ticket sales and that is strictly where the split stands as of Sunday.

“The Way of Water” has generated $855 million in global ticket sales since its Dec. 16 release — $254 million domestically and $601 million from international markets. At present, it’s the fifth-highest-grossing film released in 2022.

Paramount and Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick” is the present leader with $1.48 billion worldwide, followed by Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion” ($1 billion), Disney and Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange within the Multiverse of Madness” ($952 million) and Universal and Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” ($939 million).

“The Way of Water’s” haul stands at lower than half of what Cameron said the film must generate so as to be considered profitable. Despite waning word of mouth, which has focused on stunning visuals felled by a lackluster plot, the “Avatar” sequel has room to run on the box office.

The subsequent major blockbuster — Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” — doesn’t hit theaters until Feb. 17, leaving “The Way of Water” an extended stretch on the box office without hefty competition.

“January is absent much direct competition against the film,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “That is when the Avatar sequel could make up for any perceived lost ground toward reaching long-term expectations, if it is going to.”

“We live in a world where the craving for immediate gratification results in early results getting used as the ultimate barometer of a movie’s success,” he said. “Realistically, sometimes that is smart, but sometimes it doesn’t. That is one in every of the latter situations.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”

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