Box Office Breakdown: “Avatar: The Way of Water” flows past $2 billion worldwide 

The movies at the top of the charts this weekend are “Avatar: The Way of Water”, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”, “M3GAN”, “Missing” and “A Man Called Otto”. Illustration by Kaitlyn Tran/The Daily Campus


That’s the number of weekends in a row “Avatar: The Way of Water” has placed atop the domestic charts. 

It’s also the new number of films earning $2 billion worldwide. 

The James Cameron-directed juggernaut joined that exclusive club this weekend, earning another $19.7 million domestically. This pushes its domestic sum to $597 million. “The Way of Water” will clear $600 million domestically this week, likely ending the weekend around $615 million. Though it is remarkable the film has these marks in its sights, we must temper our expectations. The film dropped 40% this past weekend – its largest drop since the second weekend. With little competition, this drop is concerning, making it less likely the film will clear $700 million domestically. 

Many prognosticators are pondering the profitability of “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Best estimates pin the production budget of the film around $460 million. This may seem steep, but considering the decade-long road it took to release the picture, it is not inconceivable. With marketing expenses factored in, total production expenses are likely near $650 million. Considering that, as well as theatrical expenses domestically and internationally, “The Way of Water” has likely cleared $180 million in profit thus far. 

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” placed second this weekend, continuing its incredible run with a $11.5 million weekend. The film fell only 21% in its fifth week of release, even while being available on premium on-demand. The film stands at $126 million domestically and is showing no signs of slowing down. $150 million domestically looks like a given for “The Last Wish,” making me think it will end near $175 million. 

The horror film “M3GAN” ended up third this weekend, grossing another $9.8 million. This takes its domestic total over $73 million, an incredible total for a January horror release. “M3GAN” dropped 46%, which is strong for a horror film’s third weekend, keeping $100 million domestically in play. In all likelihood, the film will end near $95 million domestically, a strong total nonetheless. 

Fourth and fifth place this weekend are “Missing” and “A Man Called Otto” with $9.2 million and $8.8 million respectively. The new release “Missing” cleared my prediction of $8 million, for an impressive opening. With a reported $7 million production budget, “Missing” needs only a few decent holds to profit. “A Man Called Otto” fell only 31% this weekend to extend its domestic total to $35 million, which is impressive for a January drama. 

While there are no new wide releases this coming weekend, the stories never stop. 

Will “Avatar” ride past $615 million domestically? Will “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” claw upside $135 million? 

As always, we shall see. 

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