While we're still a month away from the release of the highly anticipated sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, the early projections are in for what the movie could earn domestically in its opening weekend, as Box Office Pro currently sees the film opening anywhere in the $135-$175-million range. Given how far we are from the film's opening, there are still a number of factors that could see that projection shift either higher or lower, as this projection puts it on par with many Marvel movies, with Thor: Love and Thunder opening to $144.1 million while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever both opened in the $180-million range. Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters on December 16th.
The projections for these domestic numbers might not be entirely impressive, but the worldwide projects show a slightly different story, with the outlet noting that the sequel could take in anywhere from $475 million to $720 million, which would put it ahead of a more standard blockbuster release. The international appeal of the original Avatar is what helped make it such a success, with that trend sure to continue with The Way of Water.
In addition to just how much time there is until The Way of Water lands in theaters, Box Office Pro points out a number of factors, both good and bad, that could see the opening weekend numbers shift significantly.
When the original Avatar was released in theaters, it was seen as a major theatrical event and was an entirely original concept from filmmaker James Cameron. Even without a built-in fan base, the film would go on to become the top film at the box office, and while Avengers: Endgame managed to take the top spot temporarily, re-releases of Avatar saw it come back to the top of the charts. More than a decade later, Avatar now has a passionate and built-in fan base and worldwide recognition, which is sure to see a massive surge of support when the sequel hits theaters.
On the other hand, the event nature of the original film meant that a large majority of its box-office totals came from 3D screenings, as advances in technology at the time were reviving the novelty of the format. Despite the 3D option still existing, there has been a huge dropoff in interest in such films, as only a handful of blockbusters hit theaters each year with the 3D option. Even if the number of ticket sales is on par with the original Avatar, if audiences continue to prefer more traditional 2D screenings, these lower-priced tickets are sure to take a bite out of the box-office totals.
Avatar: The Way of Water lands in theaters on December 16th.
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