You Can't Predict Avatar: The Way Of Water's Box Office – Screen Rant

Avatar: The Way of Water is making a huge box office splash, but its almost impossible to forecast earnings potential of James Cameron’s movies.
Avatar: The Way of Water is off to a strong start and is already more than half way to $1 billion at the global box office, but its total earning potential is going to be a lot harder to predict compared to other big blockbusters. As a sequel to James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster hit, Avatar, which became the highest grossing movie of all time (surpassing Titanic, which was also directed by Cameron), box office expectations are high, but both previous Cameron movies defy traditional box office conventions.
Cameron's box office track record is unique in Hollywood, but it makes it difficult to craft box office projections for his movies because the normal box office trends don't always apply to his films. Titanic is currently the third highest grossing movie of all time and Avatar is currently the top grossing film of all time, but the box office behavior of those two movies have very little in common with box office behavior of the other movies in the top 10, so what does that tell us about Avatar: The Way of Water and its box office potential?
Related: Can Avatar 2 Actually Earn Enough At The Box Office To Be Profitable?
Most of the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time earn a big chunk of their total box office opening weekend and see a steep decline in the following weeks. The eight non-Cameron movies in the top 10 have an average opening weekend box office of $234.8 million and an average second-weekend drop of 55 percent leading to an average global haul of $1.9 billion. Cameron's movies' box office is the opposite. Titanic opened to just $28.6 million, had a second-weekend increase of 23.8 percent, and grossed $2.2 billion globally. Similarly, Avatar opened to $77 million, had a second-weekend drop of 1.8 percent, and grossed $2.9 billion globally.
The eight non-Cameron movies are also less than a decade old, including The Avengers (2012), Furious 7 (2015), Jurassic World (2015), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), The Lion King (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Conversely, Cameron's movies are both the oldest on the list with Avatar releasing 13 years ago in 2009 and Titanic releasing 25 years ago in 1997. The time difference between Cameron's movies and everything else on the list mean they're not simply products of a different era of box office, but also subject to inflation, meaning their box office is significantly understated. Additionally, both movies received multiple successful re-releases.
Finally, Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water both represent massive leaps forward in a number of technologies, including 3D, which has a big impact on ticket prices. IMAX and 3D tickets are typically more expensive than other movies, meaning even if Avatar: The Way of Water sells the same number of tickets as other movies on the list, it'll result in more box office dollars. So, while Avatar: The Way of Water's $134 million opening weekend is a good sign, it's hard to compare to other big blockbusters (including Avatar and Titanic) and most Avatar: The Way of Water box office forecasts will be useless until actual reported numbers are available.
Next: This Is Why Avatar: The Way Of Water Is Going To Be A Massive Hit
Stephen has been writing for the site since 2016 and enjoys all manner of movies and TV, especially when it gives reason to obsess over minor irrelevant continuity minutiae.
Stephen has been infatuated with movie magic on screen and off since wearing out his VHS copy of The Making of Star Wars when he was 7. This passion continues in his work as a film journalist, whether it’s hunting down breadcrumbs about the Snyder Cut, breaking down box office trends, or obsessing over Rotten Tomatoes data, Stephen lives in the minutiae, as listeners of his podcast, Batman v Superman: By the Minute (with fellow-Screen Rant editor Andrew Dyce) know all too well.
When he’s not writing on the site, Stephen can be found obsessing over vintage camera lenses, chasing his tiny children around, or getting himself into trouble on Twitter @smcolbert.
Yes, that’s his real name.


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