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411 Box Office Report: Avatar: The Way Of Water Stays On Top, Hits #4 On Worldwide Chart

January 29, 2023 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER Image Credit: 20th Century Studios

Avatar: The Way Of Water led the box office for a seventh straight weekend as it moved further up the all-time charts. James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster led the charts this weekend with a $15.7 million take, down just 22% from last weekend. The win ties Avatar to mark the longest run atop the box office since 1997, when Cameron’s Titanic reigned for 15 weeks. (E.T. holds the all-time record with 16 weeks on top.)

With $620.6 million domestically and $2.116 billion worldwide, The Way of Water is now the 11th highest domestic-grossing film of all-time. It will hit the top 10 very soon as it is just $3 million behind Avengers. What’s more, the film has climbed to #4 on the all-time worldwide chart, passing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens last week. It now only ranks behind Avatar ($2.899 billion), Avengers Endgame ($2.795 billion), and Titanic $2.207 billion). Yep, that means Cameron has three of the top four grossing films ever. Way of Water has an outside shot at overtaking Titanic’s $659.4 million domestic final but either way, it’s a hit for 20th Century Studios (and thus Disney) even with a reported $460 million budget.

Meanwhile, Puss In Boots: The Last Wish had the lowest drop of the top 10 as it slipped just 10% to $10.6 million in its sixth weekend. The animated sequel has continued to show week-to-week strength and has now grossed $140.8 million domestically and $334.1 million worldwide. That makes it a hit for the studio even on a $90 million budget plus marketing. The film is carrying on strong and could well top $160 million by the end of its run.

A Man Called Otto was down just 23% in its fifth weekend, tallying up another $6.8 million. The Tom Hanks-starring dramedy has now totaled $46.1 million domestically and $71 million worldwide, continuing its climb toward a possible bit of profit against its $50 million budget. It seems likely to top $55 million domestically and could cross the profit line as it releases overseas in more countries in the coming weeks.

M3GAN was down a solid 34% in its fourth weekend to $6.4 million. That is particularly impressive considering the film hit VOD last week. The PG-13 horror film is a sizable hit for Universal, with $82.3 million domestically and $146 million worldwide against a budget of just $12 million. The film has now passed last January’s Scream, which ended its run at $81.6 million, and should be able to finish out around $90 million.

The first new release came with the Bollywood film Pathaan, which landed at #5 with $5.9 million. The Siddharth Anand-directed action-thriller scored the best domestic start for an Indian movie since RRR opened to $9.5 million back in March. Pathaan has scored high marks among critics with a 93% aggregated score on Rotten Tomatoes, and has been a stellar performer overseas where it broke box office records. It has totaled $8.5 million domestically (having premiered on Wednesday) and $47.5 million worldwide. It will likely fall off quickly, as is the norm for Indian films in domestic theaters, but it’s a hit for Yash Raj Films.

Missing held on fairly well in its second weekend, dropping just 38% to bring in $5.7 million. The ScreenLife thriller has had decent holds throughout the past week and brings its total to $17.6 million. Sony Pictures is perfectly happy with this, as the film cost just $7 million to make and is still tracking ahead of its predecessor Searching. That film ended at $26 million domestically and as it stands, Missing should be able to hit that number. The international begins late next month and will just add to the movie’s coffers.

Plane was off just 28% in its third weekend to gross $3.8 million. The action-thriller starring Gerard Butler is now at $25.4 million domestically and $29.4 million worldwide, with more overseas territories opening up yet to come. It should be a modest profit when it’s all said and done, with a final domestic total around $30 million.

Coming in at #8 was the Chinese sci-fi action film The Wandering Earth 2. Well Go USA’s release tallied up $3 million (including Thursday night previews), the best domestic start for a Chinese-language film in recent memory. The film is already a massive hit in China and has $323.9 million worldwide. There’s no word on its budget and it should drop out of the charts fairly quickly, but this is a strong showing for an underserved market in the US.

Brandon Cronenberg scored his best start yet with Infinity Pool, which opened at #9 with $2.7 million. The buzzy sci-fi horror film easily eclipsed the younger Cronenberg’s previous film Possessor, which opened to $252,600 late in October of 2020 as the pandemic was still having a heavy effect on theaters. The start is also more than double his father David’s 2021 film Crimes of the Future, which started at $1.1 million domestically on its way to a $2.5 million total.

Infinity Pool got a lot of ink spilled about it after it screened at Sundance, with a lot of attention toward its taboo elements (the initial cut got an NC-17 rating; the theatrical cut is an R). The film has scored well with critics at an 88% RT score, though audiences are unsurprisingly more divided with a C- CinemaScore and a 52% audience rating on RT. The film is unlikely to have strong legs, but it should be able to finish out in at least the $5 million range which would make it the highest-grossing film by a Cronenberg since David’s 2011 film A Dangerous Method.

Closing out the top 10 was Fathom Events’ Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist. The latest adaptation of the popular faith-based book series took in $2.4 for the weekend, bringing its total to $3 million since Thursday.

The film is a sequel to 2014’s Left Behind, which starred Nicolas Cage and brought in $6.3 million to start. Cage was recast with Kevin Sorbo for this film and the lack of star power – plus the lower marketing budget – hurt the film’s grosses. The film was not screened for critics and while those who saw it loved it (a 97% audience score on RT), that audience is limited in scope. Fathom Events tend to score their first engagement and then drop right out of the charts, and that should be the same here. No word on the film’s budget.

Next weekend will see the first new major releases in a while as M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock At the Cabin is aiming for a #1 start at $20 million-plus. Also opening is the sports comedy 80 For Brady, which is targeting the low to middle teens. Fathom Events is back again with its screening of The Chosen’s season three finale, which should be in the high single digits.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Avatar: The Way Of Water – $15.7 million ($620.6 million total, $2.116 billion WW)
2. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish – $10.6 million ($140.8 million total, $334.1 million WW)
3. A Man Called Otto – $6.8 million ($46.1 million total, $71 million WW)
4. M3GAN – $6.4 million ($82.3 million total, $146 million WW)
5. Pathaan – $5.9 million ($8.5 million total, $47.5 million WW)
6. Missing – $5.7 million ($17.6 million total/$17.6 million WW)
7. Plane – $3.8 million ($25.4 million total, $29.4 million WW)
8. The Wandering Earth 2 – $3 million ($3 million total, $323.9 million WW)
9. Infinity Pool – $2.7 million ($2.7 million total, $2.7 million WW)
10. Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist – $2.4 million ($3 million total/$3 million WW)