Avatar: The Way of Water raised $8 million more than expected on Sunday

The cumulative box office total for the weekend ended at $94 million, $7 million more than initial projections.

As industry watchers suggested yesterday, “Avatar: The Way of Water” (Disney) did much better at Christmas than the studio initially estimated. The actual GDP was $29.5 million, not $21.5 million. The three-day weekend gross was $64 million, not the $54 million originally stated, a cumulative $261,682,000.

This is of course a major positive sign for the movie, as December 26 is also a better-grossing holiday than Christmas. With eight more days of holiday play through January 2, depending on its Christmas Day performance, James Cameron’s movie could see $150 million or more domestic box office money added to its gross. That would bring in significantly more than $400 million, before a somewhat free ride for several weeks to likely No. 1, even as grosses plummeted. This suggests that the film could see a domestic total closer to $600 million instead of the lower guess raw numbers she was expecting.

The three-day drop was 52 percent from its opening weekend, versus the 58 percent originally reported. This compares well to “Rogue One,” which dominated Christmas in 2016 when the last calendar matched this year. This is especially important because the weather took a heavy toll on Friday and Saturday, hurting the box office even more.

Curiously, of the weekend’s top ten films, only “Water Road” didn’t more than double the Christmas Eve total. It’s not strange when one movie does most of the work. Significant advance buys could also have helped him on Saturday, with those who would otherwise have been put off staying put.

#2 “Puss in Boots: The Next Exit” (Universal) improved by more than $1 million to initial estimates, with $12,420,000. #3 “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” (Sony) dropped significantly below initial ratings. It took $4,765,000, not the $5,300,000 initially estimated. Babylon (Paramount), while improving by $100,000, was still weak by $3,600,000.

Other changes include “The Fabelmans” (Universal) which actually improved over last weekend by 1%, with a very strong Sunday taking the weekend gross to $750,000 from an initial $550,000, rising to No. 7. From India, it ended Command to “Cirkus” (Reliance) in tenth place.

The previously unreported “No Bears” (Janus) from imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi has grossed a decent $10,000 on an exclusive run in New York.

While better earnings for “The Way of Water” is already good news, the three-day weekend only took in $94 million. That’s 62 percent less than in 2019, when ticket prices were 20 percent lower, and more than a third lower than last year (with a more convenient December 24-26 calendar).

top ten (estimate 3 days)

1. Avatar: Water Road (Disney) week two; Last Weekend #1

$64,000,000 (-582%) in 4,202 theaters (no change); PTA (for theater average): $15,231; Cumulative: $261,682,000

2. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Global) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 75; EST. Budget: $90 million

$12,420,000 in 4,099 theaters; PTA: $3,030; Cumulative: $18,522,000

3. Whitney Houston: I want to dance with someone (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: N/A Metacritic: 55; EST. Budget: $45 million

$4,765,000 in 3,625 theaters; PTA: $1,314; Cumulative: $4,765,000

4. Babylon (Paramount) NEW – Cinemascore: C+; Metacritic: 59; EST. Budget: $80 million

$3,600,000 in 3,343 theaters; PTA: $1,077; Cumulative: $3,600,000

5. A violent night (global) week 4; Last Weekend #3; Also on PVOD

$3,530,000 (-30%) in 2,562 (-966) theaters; PTA: $1,378; Cumulative: $41,998,000

6. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Disney) week seven; Last weekend #2

$3,500,000 (-35%) in 2,250 (-1,130) theaters; PTA: $1,556 Cumulative: $426,155,000

7. Pisces (A24) the third week; Last weekend #15

$1,009,000 (+597%) in 603 (+597) theaters; PTA: $1,673 Cumulative: $2,557,000

9. Menu (scout) week 6; Last weekend #5

$680,000 (-58%) in 840 (-1,035) theaters; PTA: $810; Cumulative: $33,859,000

8. Fablemans (global) week six; Last Weekend #7; Also on PVOD

$750,000 (+1%) in 1,122 (+167) theaters; PTA: $668 Cumulative: $9,924,000

10. The circus (Reliance) new

$440,000 in 557 theaters. PTA: $790; Cumulative: $440,000 USD

specialized titles

Movies (limited, limited expansions, and also award-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those that unlocked that week; After the first two weeks, only films grossing over $5,000 are tracked.

corset (IFC) NEW – Metacritic: 82; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto and New York 2022

$32,500 in theaters; PTA: $16,250

The woman speaks (United Artists) New – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Telluride, Toronto, New York 2022

$41,000 in 8 theaters; PTA estimate: $5,125

living (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Sundance, Telluride, Toronto 2022

$22,784 in 3 theaters; PTA: $7,595

no bears (Janus) New – Metacritic: 90; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto, New York 2022

$10,000 in one theatre; PTA: $10,000

The Empire of Light (Scout) Week 3

$83,000 in 350 (-86) theaters; PTA: $237 Cumulative: $679,584

All beauty and bloodshed (Neon) Fifth week

$10,549 in 25 (-23) theaters; Cumulative: $251,230

EO (January) Sixth week

$62,500 in 36 (+3) theaters; Cumulative: $343,545

Anisherin from Inisherin (scout) week 11; Also on HBO Max and PVOD

$40,000 in 80 (-85) theaters; Cumulative: $8,896,000

Library (focus) week 12; Also on PVOD

$17,000 in 36 (-27) theaters; Cumulative: $5,506,000

Sadness triangle (neon) week 12; Also on VOD

$9,507 in 14 theaters; Cumulative: $4,086,000

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