February 5, 2023

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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ surpasses ‘Black Panther 2’ at the box office

2 min read

“Avatar: Waterway” ends 2022 on a high note

James Cameron’s ambitious and mega-budget return to Pandora dominated Friday’s box office, earning $24.4 million to push its domestic total to $382.6 million. The film is on track for $66.8 million this weekend, or $87.8 million over the four-day holiday (most businesses are taking Monday off because New Year’s falls on a Sunday).

By the end of the long weekend, “Avatar: The Way of Water” could overtake “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” as the second-highest-grossing domestic release of 2022. The company acquired the rights to “Avatar” as part of its 2019 purchase of 20th Century Fox’s entertainment assets. “Top Gun: Maverick” is still the top domestic ticket seller with $718.7 million in revenue Currently, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the fourth-highest-grossing domestic release of 2022, just behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” with a total of $411.3 million. But it is moving up the charts at a fast clip.

With “Avatar: The Way of Water” getting bigger, Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is poised to capture runner-up status. The animated sequel earned $6.5 million on Friday and is expected to net $15.9 million over the weekend and $21.2 million over the four-day holiday. That means it will likely enter 2023 with $66.6 million in grosses.

Disney and Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” finished third on Friday, earning $1.8 million to bring its domestic total to $434.9 million. It will earn $5.2 million this weekend and more than $7 million over the long holiday.

Sony’s “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody” finished fourth with roughly $1.4 million on Friday. This brings the biopic’s domestic gross to just under $11 million.

Paramount’s “Babylon,” a sweeping look at the dawn of Hollywood, continues to sputter. The drama grossed a paltry $935,000 to bring its domestic total to $11.4 million. The movie, which stars Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt as dysfunctional silent-era stars, cost $80 million to make and may lose more than that figure when marketing costs are taken into account.

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