Venerated Hollywood trade Variety has teamed with Cinelytic to make their best guesses as to how Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Black Adam will fare at the North American domestic box office in the coming weeks. Spoiler: none of them are looking to break the stranglehold that Top Gun: Maverick has had on the box office this year, but all of them are expected to perform respectably, especially in the context of the box office that has been lagging since theaters first shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. The 2022 box office, sitting around $6 billion, has alreayd surpassed 2021's totals...but that's still about half of what 2019 managed.
And, yes, 2019 was a fluke, with Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing in huge numbers and rounding out decades worth of dangling plot threads. Still, it was not that much higher than what the total 2018 numbers were, and in line with financial trends leading up to the end of the 2010s.
According to Variety's report, Cinelytic predicts that Avatar: The Way of Water will earn around $650 million at the box office -- that's short of Top Gun: Maverick's $700 million (let alone the first Avatar's record-setting $772 million), but still impressive, and they're expecting that it will roughly double that revenue by matching it with DVD, streaming, and TV revenue in the next few years.
After 13 years of anticipation, the Avatar sequel is going to be one of the most successful movies ever to have that long between installments -- very much like Maverick itself.
Cinelytic sees a likely $328 million domestic haul for Black Adam -- that's about twice what Shazam! made in the U.S., but about $40 million less than The Batman made. That's likely a testament to the appeal of Dwayne Johnson, since most casual audiences don't know who Black Adam is. The real question will be how happy Warner Bros. Discovery will be with a DC Universe movie that doesn't blow Black Panther 2 out of the water.
For the Marvel side of things, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is expected to take in $423 million. That's slightly more than Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earned, and presumably makes this the most likely candidate to create a $1 billion superhero movie this year. It is still expected to underperform relative to Black Panther, but that movie was a massive critical and commercial success, and so the odds of the next one surpassing it was...well, let's ask Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 or Thor: Love and Thunder, shall we?