Box Office Breakdown: “Avatar: The Way of Water” swims to $560 million 

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We are back. 

By the time this article is released, “Avatar: The Way of Water” will have likely passed “Spider-Man: No Way Home” to become the 6th highest grossing film of all time. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” put together an impressive holiday run, the $110 million-budgeted “Babylon” earned less than $15 million worldwide and “M3GAN” broke the January box office curse. 

So let’s get into it. 

First place this weekend was the aforementioned “Avatar: The Way of Water” which earned another $32.4 million. This pushed its domestic total to $564 million. There are no signs of slow down either, as the film only fell 29% in its 5th weekend. Good news for “Avatar” is that it has no blockbuster competition until “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” releases in mid-February, giving it four more weekends of close-to-free reign. Bad news is the holiday season is over. Film studios love December releases for the weekday grosses, as children are off from school and parents have breaks from work. That period is over for “Avatar,” meaning it will be tougher to have strong weekday performances from here on out. With continued strong holds however, there is a chance “Avatar: The Way of Water” can match its predecessor’s original domestic gross of $749 million. 

In second place is the horror film “M3GAN” with a gross of $18.3 million. This 40% drop pushes the film over $56 million domestically. With a reported $12 million production budget, factoring in marketing expenses and theater’s share of revenue, the film needed to earn around $46 million worldwide to breakeven. Now having cleared $94 million worldwide, every dollar earned from here on out adds to “M3GAN”’s profit. I think the film will end around $160 million worldwide to earn a profit near $52 million. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” placed third this weekend, grossing $14.4 million. This is a 6% rise for the animated film, increasing its domestic sum to $107 million. After opening to only $12.4 million, “Puss in Boots” has rode the word-of-mouth wave to a 35% jump, a 19% drop and now a 6% jump in its fourth weekend. With no signs of slowing down, there is a chance this film could reach a $200 million domestic gross by next month. 

In fourth and fifth place are “A Man Called Otto” and “Plane” which grossed $12.8 million and $10.3 million respectively. This was “A Man Called Otto”’s first weekend of wide release, and the Tom Hanks film did well, pushing its domestic total over $19 million. The film reportedly carries a $50 million production budget, so profit is unlikely, but this is an impressive gross for a drama film. “Plane,” the Gerard Butler-helmed action film, carries a near $20 million production budget, thus will need some strong holds after its opening to profit. 

Next week brings one new wide release – “Missing”. The computer screen-set thriller starring Storm Reid has earned strong reviews from critics prior to release. I predict the film will open to $8 million this weekend. 

Will “Avatar: The Way of Water” continue to swim ahead of the pack or will “Missing” find itself atop the charts? 

As always, we shall see in next week’s box office breakdown. 

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