February 8, 2023

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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ topped the box office on New Year’s Eve

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Audiences were treated to a trip to Pandora in 2023 as James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” continued to dominate the holiday box office. The ambitious – and hugely expensive – science-fiction epic has been in the works for years, blowing out several release dates as Cameron found ways to expand his story over a planned five films and developed new technology. Looks like it was worth the wait. “Avatar: The Way of Water” brought in an estimated $63.4 million over the New Year’s weekend and is expected to generate $82.4 million over the four-day holiday weekend (most people have Monday off).

But those innovations didn’t come cheap, and Cameron suggested that in order to turn a profit for Disney, the company that bought the rights to “Avatar” when it bought most of 21st Century Fox, the movie had to be one. Highest grossing film in history. Sources put “Avatar: The Way of Water’s” break-even point at roughly $1.4 billion, a figure that is likely to be exceeded.

The film grossed $421.6 million domestically and $956.9 million internationally. Its global gross stood at $1.38 billion.

“Avatar: Waterway” was basically the only game in town when it came to New Year’s Eve viewing. Coming in a distant second is Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” which earned $16.3 million over the weekend and is expected to earn $21.7 million over the four-day holiday. That would put its domestic total at more than $66 million.

Disney and Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” took third place, earning $4.8 million over the weekend and $6.5 million over the four-day holiday. Its domestic total stood at $438 million, while its worldwide total stood at $818.5 million.

In fourth place, Sony’s “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody” took in $4.2 million for the weekend and $5.4 million for the four-day holiday. That brings the biopic of the troubled pop icon to $16 million domestic gross.

Paramount’s “Babylon,” a look at all the drugs and debauchery that made Hollywood’s silent era truly murky, made the top five after struggling to lure audiences. The $80 million drama grossed $2.7 million over the weekend and is expected to gross just $3.6 million over the four-day holiday. That would bring its domestic gross to a staggering $11 million and change.

In limited release, A24’s “The Whale,” a drama about an obese college professor that earned rave reviews for Brendan Fraser, earned $372,950 on New Year’s Eve. It is expected to gross $1.7 million over the four-day holiday, bringing its total to $6.2 million.

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