SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Refresh for more analysis and chart Coming out of this weekend, by mid-week, Disney/20th Century Studios/Lightstorm’s Avatar: The Way of Water will easily surpass The Avengers as the No. 10 highest grossing movie ever in U.S./Canada with $623.3M. The James Cameron directed pic is expected to gross between $14M-$16M for a seventh straight No. 1 weekend streak. Avatar 2‘s seven-weekend run at No. 1 ties with the original Avatar and the Henry Fonda-Katherine Hepburn Oscar-winning movie On Golden Pond.
By the end of this weekend, on the high-end, Avatar at $620.9M looks to fly past Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s domestic take of $620.1M as the 11th highest grossing movie of all-time in U.S./Canada. With a worldwide take now of $2.074 billion, Avatar 2 is the 4th highest global release of all-time having passed Force Awakens’ $2.07 billion, putting Cameron with the top three of the of top 4 movies of all-time: Avatar No. 1 ($2.9 billion), Titanic No. 3 ($2.19 billion) and Way of Water No. 4. Avengers: Endgame is No. 2 worldwide with $2.799B.
Among all the Oscar nominated Best Pictures this year, the 4x nominated Avatar 2 is the only movie expected to make buckets of money heading into Oscar night on March 12 — and that’s really all organic given its blockbuster momentum. Avatar still has all its Imax and a big chunk of PLF. I hear they cede their Dolby screens to Universal’s Knock at the Cabin next weekend, that movie hopefully providing a little lift to the sleepy winter box office, which will go into overdrive over Presidents Day weekend with the $120M 4-day start of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
With no major studio wide theatrical release this weekend, all films are looking at around a $71.2M take, which is up a great +103% from a year ago when the marketplace was shackled by Omicron, all titles grossing $35M.
Among those distributors and pics taking advantage of a frame where there isn’t any major studio fare:
Yash Raj’s Indian spy pic Pathaan from Siddharth Anand looks to open to $5.75M at 694 locations in 162 markets. The movie in Hindi, Tamil, & Telugu had a Wednesday start and should file $8.4M by Sundance. Movie saw pretty strong numbers in Toronto, NYC, Chicago, Dallas, Vancouver, San Francisco and Seattle. The movie follows an Indian spy who takes on the leader of a group of mercenaries, they having nefarious plans to target his homeland.
–NEON’s Sundance midnight premiere Infinity Pool from Brandon Cronenberg is eyeing a $3M opening at 1,835 theaters. While the Sundance director’s cut was NC-17 with scenes of orgies, breastfeeding, and several scenes to make one blush, the theatrical cut is R. That $3M start is better than Papa David Cronenberg’s $1.1M opening this past summer for his Cannes premiere Crimes of the Future, also from NEON, and it’s better than that pic’s lifetime domestic of $2.4M.
Though 88% fresh among critics, the Alexander Skarsgard, Mia Goth, Cleopatra Coleman movie is C- Cinemascore with audiences and 52% among Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak audiences who gave it a lowly 28% recommend. Mostly guys here at 60% and 67% between 18-34. Diversity demos were 57% Caucasian, 24% Latino and Hispanic, 11% Asian/other and 8% Black. The movie did its business on the coasts where nine of the top ten theaters are. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin ranked no. 7. I’m told ticket sales dropped off the deeper one looked into the best markets of NYC, LA, Chicago, Dallas, and Philly.
WellGoUSA’s release of Chinese sequel Wandering Earth II in 61 markets had solid numbers in NYC, LA, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver with $1.3M. The movie cracked close to $70M in its opening over the Lunar New Year last weekend.