[UPDATED] Box Office Prediction – Avatar: The Way of Water

Updated: Film is on track to earn $525 million + globally on its opening weekend. Predictions updated to reflect new tracking data.

Whatever you are predicting Avatar: The Way of Water to make at the box office, make it higher! So, what will Avatar: The Way of Water make at the Domestic and Worldwide box office? 

Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in Avatar: The Way of Water - Courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Disney. Promotional Poster - Add context to post.
Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in Avatar: The Way of Water – Courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Disney.

We have nearly arrived at our Most Anticipated Film of 2022 and likely the most anticipated box office prospect since Avengers: Endgame – whether it could topple the original Avatar film. We are a week away from the release of its sequel and box office enthusiasts are incredibly interested to see how it will perform. I have seen a lot of discourse on the subject matter and the predictions are wildly diverse – as one would expect.  

We’ll see how Avatar: The Way of Water will do as I dive into the advantages and disadvantages it faces at the box office.

Advantages:

  • Avatar (2009) is the highest grossing film of all-time worldwide and domestically, it is the fourth highest grossing film as it has since been surpassed by Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. It remains the second best selling Blu-Ray/UHD release domestically (Frozen tops this list) of all-time. Despite popular belief, Avatar has a cultural imprint, albeit that it has remained dormant for years.
  • The key selling point of the original film will likely align with its sequel as well – which is breakthrough, avant-garde visual effects and 3-D technology. With the progression of technology in today’s filmmaking era coupled with the ambition of Director, James Cameron – we should see high-quality filmmaking that should entice casual viewers as well. 
  • JAMES CAMERON: Honestly, you just can’t bet against this director. He may not craft films that are a masterclass in narrative storytelling but he definitely knows how to deliver films and especially sequels. Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Aliens are considered some of the best sequels of all-time. 
  • While the industry as a whole may be financially struggling, the potential for a box office blockbuster to earn in the billion is still entirely capable – see, Top Gun: Maverick and Spider-Man: No Way Home. The latter earning over $1.9 billion (without a China release) and releasing at the same time should alert us to the potential here.
  • Further to the above, similar to Spider-Man: No Way Home, competition remains relatively thin. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish provides counterprogramming during the holiday season and shouldn’t be perceived as a threat. The next major tentpole release is Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which is mid-February.
  • Premium format viewing – look for this film to capitalize on the ticket price increase in 3-D and IMAX formats. With the lack of films being released in these formats after The Way of Water’s release, it should be able to occupy those screens for a longer period of time.
  • Christmas and the holiday season – this period is an amazing time for films to release as they possess incredible staying power opportunities leading to low weekend drop % and high weekday earning $ potential. 
  • Social media reactions from critics were impressive – highlighting a cinematic spectacle and claims that it exceeds the first film.

Disadvantages: 

  • The reported runtime for Avatar: The Way of Water is 3 hours and 12 minutes. Now a lot of the biggest box office hits across time have eclipsed the 3 hour running time – Avengers: Endgame, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. If the film’s pacing allows for a streamlined viewing experience, then it should weigh too heavily into this film’s box office potential. However, reality remains that the longer a film is then the less showtimes it can have during the day.
  • Avatar was an extremely popular 3-D film and in fact, 80% of its gross came from 3-D showings which, as we know, have a higher ticket price. Since the viewing format became extremely unpopular and disliked – we can’t expect anything close to that 80% figure. This will have an influence on the films total gross but perhaps, James Cameron can convince audiences to return to the 3-D format again..?
  • Marketing has been a little quiet, despite growing in strength in the past few weeks. At this stage, it should be considered a disadvantage to ramp up marketing too close to the film’s release. In saying this, I don’t consider this to be a major box office deterrent – just deserves a mention

FINAL PREDICTIONS:

Sigourney Weaver as Kiri in Avatar: The Way of Water - Courtesy of 20th Century Fox/Disney. Box Office Prediction.

Domestic Box Office:

Opening Weekend – $182 million

Domestic Total – $712 million

Worldwide Box Office:

Worldwide Total – $2.21 billion

Back in March 2021, I wrote an article covering what film would be the first to cross a billion in a post-pandemic world and in that, I claimed Avatar: The Way of Water would be the first to cross 2 billion. I stick to that claim and the stars are aligning for me to get that moral victory! I look forward to covering an anticipated box office performance!

Whatever you are predicting Avatar: The Way of Water to make at the box office, make it higher!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s