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Box Office: ‘Avatar 2’ Tops Friday With $53M for $130M-$150M U.S. Opening

james cameron Avatar: The Path of Water topped Friday with a hefty $53 million, the director’s biggest opening day ever, for a domestic debut in the $130 million to $150 million range.

Box office analysts point out that modeling has become more difficult in the age of the pandemic. And even bitter rivals believe avatar 2 it will have incredibly stout legs, even if the opening weekend hits $130 million.

Overseas, the film grossed $127.1 million in its first three days for an early global gross of $180.1 million.

Looking ahead to the weekend, suggested follow-up The Way of the Water’The launch would be $150 million to $175 million domestically and $450 million to $550 million globally. Overseas, the film is receiving a coveted release in China, although a major outbreak of COVID-19 is taking a huge hit at the box office in that country.

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Another major challenge: The film’s running time is three hours and 12 minutes, resulting in fewer hours of exposure (at the same time, it faces almost no competition). And the 3D tentpole is seeing a lot of its business come from Imax and other premium large-format screens, which means some consumers don’t want to pay a premium for a premium or 3D experience (to be clear, there’s also available in digital 2D).

Anyway, the path of water opens notably ahead of the $77 million domestic debut of the first Avatar in December 2009. The groundbreaking film became the highest-grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office with more than $2.92 billion in ticket sales.

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If the first projections are correct, avatar 2 will open in the same range as the Tom Cruise blockbuster Above: Gun Maverickwhich debuted to $126.7 million domestically, but amassed a staggering $1.49 billion worldwide.

Disney, home of the film’s 20th Century Studios, stresses that the sequel’s success hinges more on its long-term gameplay, rather than a huge opening number, and note the film’s glowing output scores and A CinemaScore (2009’s Avatar also got an A). Distribution sources also say advance ticket sales are distributed over the weekend and Christmas week, rather than being charged in advance.

cameron produced the path of water alongside his former Lightstorm partner Jon Landau. The film stars Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang, and once again focuses on Worthington’s Sully and Saldaña’s Na’vi character, Neytiri. Picks up a decade after the original and follows her family, with additional stars, including franchise newcomer Kate Winslet.

Avatar: The Path of Water it costs $350 million-$400 million to produce (sources say it’s on the high end). In previous interviews promoting the sequel, Cameron indicated that it would have to gross in the $2 billion range to be considered a success.

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