January 31, 2023

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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is a $900 million worldwide hit

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After a huge turnout at Christmas, “Avatar: The Way of Water” crossed another big box office milestone with global ticket sales of $955.1 million.

James Cameron’s long-delayed sequel grossed $293 million at the domestic box office and $661 million internationally. In just two weeks, “The Way of Water” has already surpassed “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ($800 million worldwide), “The Batman” ($770 million worldwide) and “Thor: Love & Thunder” ($760 million worldwide). Standing as the fifth-highest-grossing film of the year.

And the “Avatar” sequel is expected to continue its dominance next week, even as harsh winter weather in the U.S. and rising cases of Covid, RSV and flu around the world have curbed ticket sales. In the next few days, it will become the third biggest release of 2022 behind “Minions: The Rise of Gru” ($939 million worldwide) and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($955 million worldwide).

By year’s end, Disney and 20th Century’s $350 million-budgeted tentpole “The Way of Water” hopes to hit the $1 billion mark. It’s a threshold that only two movies, “Top Gun: Maverick” ($1.48 billion worldwide) and “Jurassic World Dominion” ($1.001 billion worldwide), managed to hit in 2022.

“Avatar 2” has to beat expectations with outsized ticket sales to justify its huge price tag. Cameron estimated that the movie would need to make around $2 billion to break even, though analysts believe the profit threshold is likely closer to $1.5 billion.

While “Avatar: The Way of Water” is proving to be another strong big-screen draw, the follow-up film will struggle to reach the heights of its predecessor, the highest-grossing release in history with $2.97 billion worldwide. . This is because the global box office has not fully recovered from the pandemic and important markets such as China are experiencing a resurgence of the virus. Furthermore, the sequel will not play in Russia, where the original grossed over $100 million.

Outside of North America, “Avatar 2” enjoyed the strongest box office in China with $100.5 million, followed by Korea with $53 million, France with $52.3 million, India with $37 million and Germany with $35.7 million.

Like the original, “The Way of Water” is particularly popular in IMAX. It has already surpassed $105.5 million worldwide at IMAX, marking the company’s fastest pandemic-era film to surpass that benchmark. To date, IMAX accounts for 11.4% of the film’s global gross.

“‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is showing the strong endurance we expected at the worldwide box office,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “In just one week of release, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ has cruised to more than $100 million at the IMAX box office with no signs of slowing down.”

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