Home Business ‘Avatar 2’ Gains $56 Million in Storm-Challenged Second Weekend

‘Avatar 2’ Gains $56 Million in Storm-Challenged Second Weekend

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(Bloomberg) — Walt Disney Co.’s science-fiction epic Avatar: The Way of Water battled winter storms in the US and Canada to bring in an estimated $56 million in ticket sales this weekend through Sunday.

It garnered another $168.6 million in theaters internationally over the weekend, for a total haul of $855.4 million globally since its Dec. 16 release, Disney said in a statement Sunday.

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The company predicted the film would take in $82 million domestically over the four days that include the Monday after Christmas.

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While the movie easily topped the box office, its performance raises some questions. Domestic ticket sales fell 58% from its $134.1 million opening weekend. That’s typical for a big film release, but executives at theater chains and at Disney had said they expected The Way of Water would be more resilient. That was before storms shut some cinemas and brought dangerously cold weather in many parts of the US, however. 

The original Avatar had a strong, but not spectacular, opening in 2009. It became the highest-grossing picture in Hollywood history because it stayed on top of the box office for seven weeks. In all, that movie sold $2.92 billion worth of tickets globally, buoyed by word-of-mouth about its 3D effects and fans who saw it multiple times. 

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Writer-director James Cameron secured a massive budget to make the sequel, with The Way of Water production costs alone topping $350 million. Disney is planning to release three more Avatar films through 2028. Whether it can make that investment pay off remains to be seen. 

While domestic box office receipts for The Way of Water came in below some estimates in its opening weekend, the film generated $50 million a day in ticket sales globally after that, with many kids out of school and adults taking time off. Ticket sales may benefit from improving weather and a return of theatergoers in the coming weeks.

Read more: Disney cuts weekend forecast on ‘Avatar’ sequel’s mild start 

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