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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