“Avatar: The Way of Water” claimed the No. 1 spot on the domestic box office charts for the seventh weekend in a row with an additional $15.7 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
It was a quiet weekend overall, particularly notable for the Hindi blockbuster ‘Pathaan’ breaking into the top five and the Oscar-nominated re-releases of films such as ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ and ‘The Fabelmans’.
“Avatar 2’s” top spot in North America was matched only by the first “Avatar”, and in the last 25 years it has been surpassed by “Titanic” (which stayed at the top spot for 15 weeks). All three were directed by James Cameron.
Worldwide, “The Way of Water” has now grossed an estimated $2.1 billion, surpassing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to become the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time (of which Cameron has three directed).
“James Cameron just keeps ticking off all the records and milestones,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “And it still has a wide open marketplace.”
Second place went to Universal and DreamWorks’ family-oriented offering “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish”, which made $10.6 million in its sixth weekend. The animated spin-off has made over $140.8 million in North America and was also recently made available to stream at home.
Third place went to Sony’s “A Man Called Otto” with $6.8 million from 3,957 locations. The meme horror “M3GAN”, a Universal release, crept into fourth place in its fourth weekend with $6.4 million, bringing its domestic total to $82.3 million. .
The Indian movie ‘Pathaan’, starring Shah Rukh Kha in his first role in five years, took fifth place with $5.9 million from just 695 screens.
“A performance in the top five is really impressive,” said Dergarabedian, noting that the market has provided opportunities for Indian films to break into the domestic top 10 in recent years.
Neon also launched the horror film “Infinity Pool”, written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg and starring Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård, in 1,853 locations after its Sundance debut. It earned an estimated $2.7 million. The romantic comedy “Maybe I Do”, starring Diane Keaton, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandan, made $562,000 from 465 screens. And Lukas Dhont’s Cannes-winning youth drama “Close” premiered on four screens in New York and Los Angeles, earning $68,143.
Many studios with Best Picture nominees also opted to capitalize on the buzz of Tuesday’s Oscar nominations with sizable reissues. “Everything Everywhere All At Once”, which received a whopping 11 nominations, returned to theaters and played on 1,400 screens where it grossed another $1 million. The release of the A24 has earned $71 million domestically to date. Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” nominated for seven Oscars, was also shown in North America on 1,962 screens and grossed an additional $760,000, bringing the domestic total to $16 million. And Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” also added a few hundred screens, making $1 million over the weekend. It has earned $2.4 million to date. The Oscar boosts could also continue in the coming weeks — the show isn’t until March 12.
“We are seeing in real time the halo effect of the Oscar nominations on these Best Picture nominees,” Dergarbedian said. “The Oscar bounce is back, something we haven’t seen in recent years.”
Several of the weekend’s highest-profile releases were both star-driven comedies headed straight to streaming: Netflix had “You People,” starring Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonah Hill, and Lauren London, and Amazon Prime Video offered “Shotgun Wedding.” ” at. ”, with Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Coolidge.
Seven weekends after ‘Avatar 2’, theater owners are probably also looking for the next big blockbuster, which is still a long way off. “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania” doesn’t hit theaters until February 17.
But, as Dergarabedian said, “2023 already looks more like 2019 than it has in the past three years.”
“This is great news for theaters,” he said. “You have the Oscar bounce in play, an Indian film in the top 5 and ‘Avatar’ is breaking records left and right.”
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore, with Wednesday through Sunday in parentheses. Final domestic figures will be released on Monday.
1. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” $15.7 million.
2. “Puss: The Last Wish”, $10.6 million.
3. “A Man Named Otto,” $6.8 million,
4. “M3GAN,” $6.4 million.
5. ‘Pathan’, $5.9 million.
6. “Missing,” $3.8 million.
7. “Airplane”, $3.8 million.
8. “Infinity Pool”, $2.7 million.
9. “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist,” $2.4 million.
10. “The Wandering Earth 2,” $1.4 million.
Follow AP film writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.