‘Avatar 2’ Tops $2 Billion Global Box Office After Six Weeks in Release

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ sequel Avatar: The Way of Water continues to show strong sea legs, adding another $20 million in projected box office revenue through Jan. 22. The tally is enough to push director James Cameron’s follow-up to his 2009 original Avatar past $2 billion in global theatrical revenue after just six weeks in release.

The movie’s total supplants Sony Pictures’ 2021 global box office champ, Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.91 billion), as the No. 6 all-time theatrical revenue release — and sits just $20 million behind No. 5, Avengers: Infinity War (Disney/Marvel Studios).

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish added $11.5 million in ticket sales to push its global five-week total near $300 million. The tally was enough to drop former box office champ, Universal’s life-like doll thriller M3GAN, to No. 3 with almost $10 million in revenue. The movie’s global tally after three weeks now approaches $127 million — with a sequel in the works.

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Sony’s new drama release Missing finished the weekend in the No. 4 spot with $9.3 million across more than 3,000 screens. The studio’s Tom Hanks-starrer A Man Called Otto finished No. 5 with $9 million in revenue to push its worldwide tally past $55.3 million.

Finally, Lionsgate’s thriller Plane, starring Gerard Butler as a commercial pilot who, after an emergency landing on a remote island, finds himself and passengers in the crosshairs of warring island rebels, sold more than $5 million worth of tickets to push its global 10-day total near $20 million.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Most Popular Streamed Movies and Shows of 2022; Most Anticipated Content Coming in January

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover  the year’s most popular streamed movies and shows according to data compiled by JustWatch.

They debate the pros and cons of the lists, while sharing some of their own insights about what they’d seen during the year. In general, moviegoers returned to theaters in droves for the first time since the pandemic, but streaming was still a very popular way to watch new movies. For example, Spider-Man: No Way Home set records for one of the largest theatrical releases of all time, yet was still the No. 4 most streamed movie of the year.

Unsurprisingly, the No. 1 most popular streamed movie was Top Gun: Maverick, the surprise smash of the year that made well over a billion dollars during its theatrical run and maintained strong viewership numbers on both streaming as well as physical sales.

For shows, the dueling high fantasy epics of “House of the Dragon” and “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” both held top 10 spots by popularity, but the most popular streamed show was Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” now in its fourth season. Charlie wraps the segment by remarking on the abrupt cancellation of another Netflix show, “1899.”

The following segment looks ahead to January releases of new movies and shows. The hosts were at a loss for most of the announcements, leading them to conclude that Avatar: The Way of Water would face just about no competition for another month in theaters and easily net at least $2 billion before the end of the month.

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One new show that caught their eye was “The Last of Us,” set to premiere on HBO Max. This is a show based on a video game by the same name that both have played, and given its mature and cinematic content led them to both give it a preemptive recommendation.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Review for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ and Recap of ‘Avatar’ on Disney+; Henry Cavill to Leave DC Cinematic Universe and ‘Witcher’ Netflix Series for ‘Warhammer 40k’ Series

 

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley lead with a review for Avatar: The Way of Water as well as a quick recap and comparison to the original Avatar (available to stream on Disney+).

In short: the sequel successfully builds on the story of the first movie but the true attraction is the stunning visual effects. In Charlie’s words: it’s as though a documentary shoot took place on an alien planet because the CGI is so seamless and the ecosystem is so vibrant the movie will effortlessly transport you back to Pandora. Charles was similarly impressed, expressing his disappointment with the original but applauding The Way of Water. Both hosts are looking forward to the next installment of the franchise. When it comes to box office performance, as of the time of recording the movie has broken $900 million worldwide and still easily taking the No. 1 spot domestically. It faces little to no competition in theaters until the next Marvel release, Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February.

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In streaming, it’s been a busy time for actor Henry Cavill. Production disagreements and friction between the showrunners/writers and Cavill on Netflix’s “The Witcher” have led to his departure from the series, to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth in the next season. Simultaneously, due to pivots in DC’s strategy (spearheaded by James Gunn and Peter Safran), Cavill will also not reprise his role as Superman in upcoming movies, despite his character’s recent cameo in the Black Adam post-credits scene. But with a trick up his sleeve, Cavill has announced his new role as executive producer and lead in Amazon Prime Video’s “Warhammer 40k” series, a sci-fi property popular with tabletop role-playing gamers. Cavill himself is a huge fan of the IP and while little is known about Amazon’s plans there is universal positive buzz about his announcement.

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Leads Global Box Office With $435 Million Tidal Wave — Driven by 3D

Director James Cameron’s Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios), generated an estimated $435 million in global box office revenue, including almost $135 million across North American screens, for the weekend ended Dec. 18.

The opening is the third-highest since the pandemic began, behind No. 2 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney/Marvel Studios) at $442 million, including $187.4 million in North America, and No. 1, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home with $600 million worldwide, including $260.1 million domestically.

Avatar: The Way of Water ranks as the No. 5 North American box office opening in 2022, tied with Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Batman.

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The movie generated an estimated 66% of its revenue from worldwide 3D ticket sales, underscoring the fact moviegoers continue embrace the 3D format when presented with compelling content. The projection is based on data from Comscore.
 
China was the top-performing 3D market in the world, with an estimated 99% of all moviegoers in the Middle Kingdom purchasing 3D tickets. In North America, an estimated 58% of moviegoers purchased 3D tickets and internationally, 66% of this week’s audience experienced the film in 3D.
 
“Just as the original Avatar did, Avatar: The Way of Water has set a new benchmark for the current 3D marketplace,” Travis Reid, CEO for 3D company RealD, said in a statement. “We expect to continue to see strong 3D results worldwide thru the holiday and new year.”
 
Avatar’s opening largely sucked the air out of the remaining theatrical market as Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever added $5.3 million in ticket sales to up its North American tally past $418 million after six weekends. Universal Pictures’ holiday drama, Violent Night, saw another $5 million in revenue to up its tally near $35 million after three weeks.
 
Disney continues to dominate the box office as the animated musical Strange World and Searchlight Pictures’ black comedy The Menu rounded out the top five with $2.2 million and $1.7 million in revenue , respectively.
 

Let the ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Tsunami Begin

With Disney-owned 20th Century Studios bowing director James Cameron’s long-awaited animated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, early in theaters on Dec. 16, the movie is expected to top the $160.5 million Memorial Day weekend opening for Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun: Maverick.

The sequel finds original characters Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) now the parents of four Na’vi children. When the family and Na’vi people’s forest home is threatened by the return of humans to re-colonize parts of Pandora, Sully and Neytiri fight back.

While it remains unlikely the follow-up to the all-time box office champ, 2009’s original Avatar with more than $2.9 billion in global revenue, will surpass Maverick for the No. 1 2022 box office title, overall revenue projections for The Way of Water are all over the map.

Industry estimates peg the three-hour release generating anywhere from $135 million to almost $200 million from Dec. 16-18. The movie has 82% score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 162 reviews, which is par with the original Avatar.

Thursday’s screenings generated a reported $17 million in domestic ticket sales, and $24 million on Friday ticket sales in China.

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This Week’s MPN Podcast: Movies Exclusive to Vudu and Other Digital Purchase Sites ; NYT ‘Best’ Movies of 2022?; More on Cameron and ‘Avatar’

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley lead with a list of Golden Globe-nominated movies newly released to Vudu for digital rent or download, exclusive to that service. This leads to a discussion around the merits of digital ownership in general and whether it’s ultimately worth more than owning physical releases. It contrasts nicely with how the episode wraps with several newly announced extravagant DVD/Blu-ray Disc boxed sets just in time for Christmas.

In between these segments, the hosts check in on James Cameron again. This is the last episode before Avatar 2 hits the big screen, and Cameron is featured in yet another interview hyping up his expected box office blockbuster. The latest: he received zero studio notes for his script for Avatar 4, and yes, he wrote the script for Avatars 2-4 before even starting to film The Way of Water. While no studio notes historically portend a mediocre movie that studios will write off, if any other director was going to break that mold, it would be Cameron.

The other major segment of the episode is a breakdown of a recent list of movies released by the New York Times that Charles and Charlie roast, as said list consists almost entirely of extremely niche movies that nobody seems to have heard of. Given that the hosts lead a movie-themed podcast, they both find it strange that these movies flew so under the radar and yet made it to such a year-end list.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: December’s Most Anticipated Shows and Movies; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’ Wrapped Up; Best Shows of 2022

 

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News Podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley introduce a new segment to the show: looking ahead to the coming month’s most anticipated streaming shows and movies, according to data collected by Whip Media. With 20 items on the list, there’s plenty for the hosts to chew on, and they share their opinions on what is worth looking forward to and what can be skipped. There’s plenty of Avatar 2 discussion as its premiere approaches and, to no one’s surprise, it’s the No. 1 most anticipated movie of December.

Charlie sums up his thoughts with “The Peripheral” and “1899” now that he’s finished both series. In summation, the former is a promising new sci-fi show with the potential to become great, but the latter doesn’t live up to its premise and, in the host’s opinion, fails to be consistent with its storytelling. Charles talks about a fun YouTube channel, “Watcher,” which has a recurring series “Puppet History,” consisting of exactly what the title implies: historical events reenacted by puppets.

Looking backward in time, Charlie and Charles dissect a list of top shows from 2022 according to The Economist, along with shows they themselves liked most. Stay tuned to the end to hear what is worth revisiting from this past year!

JustWatch: ‘Avatar,’ ‘Wednesday’ Topped Weekly Streaming Through Dec. 4

With the pending theatrical launch of 20th Century Studios’ long-awaited Jim Cameron-directed sequel Avatar: The Way of Water on Dec. 16, viewer interest in the 2009 original Avatar dominated weekly movie streaming through Dec. 4, according to new data from JustWatch, the Berlin-based platform that tracks the SVOD streaming habits of 20 million users across 59 markets, including the United States.

Avatar topped winter holiday-themed catalog titles The Grinch (2018) and Love Actually (2003), new Netflix series “Wednesday,” and bested long-running episodic chart toppers “Yellowstone” and “The White Lotus,” among others.

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This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Wakanda Forever’ Revisited; ‘Peacemaker’ Achieves Cult Status

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News Podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley divert from the usual format to dig deep into what they’ve been watching and what’s been going on in the film industry.

First up, the hosts talk about the themes of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and some of the characters’ motivations and portrayals. According to Charles, in the original Marvel comics the anti-hero Namor was half-Atlantean and half-human, but since DC’s recent portrayal of Aquaman featured that exact backstory, the version of Namor in Wakanda Forever was tweaked to be a descendant of the Mayans.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever maintains its top spot and worldwide has grossed over $500 million in its first 10 days of release. It’s projected to make just shy of $900 million.

In the second spot is The Menu, a small-budget movie Charlie has been interested in since it’s been marketed as a horror movie but is written by two comedy writer veterans whose resumés include “The Onion,” “Last Week Tonight” and “Comedy Bang Bang.” Meanwhile, arriving this week on Blu-ray is season one of HBO Max’s “Peacemaker,” which Charles highly recommends. As the direct sequel to James Gunn’s soft reboot/sequel The Suicide Squad, it garnered a strong cult following since its inception and is already greenlighted for a second season.

Lastly, we have some news out of Avatar 2’s production in a GQ interview with director James Cameron. Cameron has been pitching the long-awaited sequel as “the worst business case in movie history” as he alleges it will need to be one of the world’s highest-grossing movies of all time just to break even. In the interview, he recalls speaking to a Fox executive about production of the original Avatar: “I think this movie is going to make all the money … that’s exactly what I said, in caps, ALL THE MONEY, not some of the money, all the money.” Since Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, having made $2.9 billion to date, it’s fair to say Cameron called his shot and is confident about the performance of Avatar 2.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Narrows Box Office Gap to ‘Avatar’

Sony Pictures’ web-slinging juggernaut Spider-Man: No Way Home swept the No. 1 position at the North American box office, generating another $11 million in projected revenue across 3,675 screens through Jan. 30. The third Marvel superhero actioner starring Tom Holland as “Spider-Man” has reached $735 million in domestic ticket sales after seven weekends — and is just $25 million behind No. 3 all-time domestic placeholder Avatar (2009) from director James Cameron. That film holds the No. 1 all-time global box office record at more than $2.8 billion.

No Way Home easily bested Paramount Pictures’ Scream, which generated another $7.3 million across 3,518 screens to bring its domestic tally above $62 million. Universal Pictures’ Sing 2 finished third on the weekend with $4.8 million across 3,450 screens. The animated sequel has sold more than $134 million in tickets since its late-December release — the highest for a movie during the pandemic.

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Universal’s faith-based Redeeming Love sold $1.85 million worth of tickets across 1,963 screens for the No. 4 spot, in what has been a slow January (and without SVOD competition) at the box office.