‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ brought in $17 million in previews Thursday, spurred by big 3D sales

James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” took in $17 million during its Thursday night previews on its way to a $175 million opening weekend.

The number itself isn’t particularly notable compared to other cinematic releases this year, but the percentage of tickets sold for 3D and premium-format shows is quite noticeable.

61% of domestic tickets on Thursday were for 3D shows.

Marvel Studio’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” brought in $36 million during its Thursday previews, the most for any other movie in 2022. Thor: Love and Thunder was second with $29 million, followed closely by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. “,” which netted $28, and Warner Bros.“The Batman,” which took in $21 million in early ticket sales.

Premium formats will be a huge factor in a film’s opening weekend and its overall run at the box office. Director Cameron W Disney They marketed “The Way of Water” as a must-see 3D movie, meaning that the majority of showings of the film would require special glasses and a larger ticket price.

This is especially important considering Cameron told GQ that the film would need to become the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history to break even – which means it would need to generate more than $2 billion at the global box office during its theatrical premiere.

EntTelligence estimates that the average cost of 3D tickets for “The Way of Water” is about $16.50 each while 2D tickets cost about $12.50 a piece.

Heading into the weekend, the “Avatar” sequel saw an even split between the number of 3D and 2D screens. This is the highest for any film released this year. The second highest was “Wakanda Forever” with 17% of 3D screenings.

On Thursday, the film took in $50.4 million in international ticket sales, excluding China. In Europe, 71% of tickets sold came from 3D shows and premium formats. Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, 39% of the box office revenues were accounted for by these more expensive offerings.

So far, China has scored $5 million in advanced bids, with opening day projections expected to be in excess of $18.5 million.

“Every marathon starts with the first step, and for ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ that’s just the beginning,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. The film also garnered generally positive reviews.

“Avatar,” which was released in 2009, only made $77 million during its opening weekend, but became the highest-grossing movie of all time. It maintains this title thanks to its many re-releases.

The film had incredible staying power at the box office, running in theaters through August 2010, an astonishing 234 days. “Avatar” eventually grossed $760 million in the United States and Canada and more than $2 billion in international markets during its theatrical premiere.

At the time, theatrical windows typically ran for 75 to 90 days. These days, the timing between theatrical performances has shrunk to about 45 days. Of course, there were exceptions, including Basic and Skydance’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” which has been in theaters for 203 days and continues to play.

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