“Avatar” is #1 for 6 consecutive weeks and surpasses $2 billion

NEW YORKJames Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water topped box office ticket sales for the sixth straight weekend, becoming the first film since 2009’s Avatar to stay at the box office for this long.

The Walt Disney Co.’s “The Way of Water” added $19.7 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters as of Sunday, according to the studio’s estimates. Its global total has now surpassed $2 billion, ranking sixth all-time and just ahead of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Domestically, The Way of Water costs up to $598 million. Continued strong international sales ($56.3 million for the weekend) have helped the Avatar sequel climb to $2.024 billion worldwide.

A year ago “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also topped the box office for six weekends, but did so over the course of seven weeks. You have to go back to Cameron’s original Avatar to find a film that has stayed at #1 for so long. (“Avatar” eventually ended at seven weeks.) Before that, the only film in the last 25 years to achieve that feat was another Cameron film; Titanic (1997) went unbeaten for 15 weeks.

The Way of Water has now achieved a goal Cameron himself has braced himself for the very expensive sequel. Prior to its release, Cameron said becoming “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” was “your breakeven point.”

Box office dominance for The Way of Water was aided in part by a lack of formidable challengers. The only new major release by a major studio over the weekend was the Thriller “Absence,” by Sony’s Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films. Missing is a low-budget sequel to 2018’s Searching starring Storm Reid as a teenage girl searching for her missing mother. “Missing” takes place on computer screens. Budgeted at $7 million, the film debuted at $9.3 million.

January is usually a slow time in theaters, but a handful of strong-performing holdovers have helped prop up sales.

Although it didn’t have a grand opening in December, Universal Pictures’ “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” had long legs as one of the few family options in theaters last month. In its fifth week, it ranked second with $11.5 million domestically and $17.8 million overseas. The Puss in Boots sequel has grossed $297.5 million worldwide.

The scary doll horror hit “M3gan”, also from Universal, has also continued to attract moviegoers. It made $9.8 million in its third week, bringing its domestic yield to $73.3 million.

And while the popularity of horror titles in theaters is nothing new, Sony Pictures’ “A Man Named Otto” starring Tom Hanks, thrived in a market craving adult drama. The film, a remake of the Swedish film A Man Called Ove, about a pensioner whose suicide plans are constantly thwarted by his neighbors, grossed $9 million in its second week of release. As of Sunday, it had taken in $35.3 million domestically.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. The final domestic figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $19.7 million.

2. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” $11.5 million.

3. “M3gan”, $9.8 million

4. “Missing,” $9.3 million.

5. “A Man Called Otto,” $9 million.

6. “Plane,” $5.3 million.

7. “House Party,” $1.8 million.

8. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime The Movie, $1.5 million.

9. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, $1.4 million.

10. “The Whale,” $1.3 million.


Follow AP film writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2023/01/22/avatar-marks-6-straight-weeks-at-no-1-crosses-2-billion/ “Avatar” is #1 for 6 consecutive weeks and surpasses $2 billion

Sarah Y. Kim

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