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The Way Of Water Seeing $400M+ Global Bow – Deadline




SATURDAY UPDATE, Refresh for latest…: James Cameron’s Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, added eight further material international box office markets on Friday to fill out the global landscape. Through yesterday, the anticipated return to Pandora has amassed $127.1M from a total 52 offshore markets, and $180.1M worldwide when factoring in domestic.

Given the previously noted swing of China and also the appointment-viewing element of this Disney/20th Century Studios movie, opening weekend projections have dropped to around $280M from overseas for a $410M+ worldwide launch. 

Disney’s estimates put The Way of Water’s first three offshore days at 83% above Avatar, 69% ahead of Top Gun: Maverick, 59% over Jurassic World Dominion and 39% behind Spider-Man: No Way Home on a like-for-like basis.

While this start is not where it was originally estimated, in general, there have been encouraging holds and positive audience reaction which bodes well for legs in the coming weeks. 

Notably, and not included in the totals above, Korea saw a 94% uptick from Friday to Saturday, bringing the local cume to $17.3M through Saturday. 

China added another $20.5M on Saturday, not included above, for a $44M gross so far.


PREVIOUS, FRIDAY UPDATE: Avatar: The Way of Water had its first full day of play today in China where it grossed an estimated $18.5M. Along with $5M from Wednesday/Thursday previews, that lifts the total in that market to $23.5M through Friday.

However, these figures are not included in the running offshore cume through Thursday which is now $50.4M. Globally, including $17M from domestic previews yesterday, the total is $67.4M. Again, this does not include China’s previews or Friday play.

China, as we have said from the start, is a swing on this James Cameron sequel. There are clearly issues in the market which just blew the doors open after a longtime zero-Covid policy. While presales were strong, walk-up business has been less so, and it is unlikely that Avatar 2 reaches $100M in its opening weekend owing to this. As we have previously stated, caution prevails. Still, early social scores are strong with Maoyan at 9.3, TPP at 9.2 and Douban 8.4. Comparatively, the original Avatar just edged those.

In China IMAX, 717 overseas screens delivered $3M from Wednesday/Thursday previews which is the 2nd highest China preview result ever for the format, representing 56% of nationwide box office for the movie. In total, globally, the 20th Century Studios title was No. 1 on 1,372 IMAX screens Thursday with $9.2M in 62 markets (see more detail below).

Looking at the rest of the world internationally, Way of Water opened in 29 additional material markets on Thursday including Australia, Brazil and Mexico, taking the full total to 44 material markets to date (again, sans China which we will factor in tomorrow).

For the markets that opened on Wednesday (ie France, Korea, etc) there are encouraging holds. Playability is key on this anticipated sequel that has no competition ahead and requires appointment viewing. Also notable, and not reflected in the running total above, Korea did $3.82M on Friday (a 43% increase on Thursday) for a running cume of $9.7M through today.

Disney estimates that the first two days (through Thursday) overall results are 167% ahead of Avatar, 72% ahead of Top Gun: Maverick, 52% ahead of Jurassic World: Dominion and 39% behind Spider-Man: No Way Home on a like-for-like basis:

The Top 10 markets through Thursday are led by Korea at $5.9M (including Friday, that rises to $9.7M), France ($5.7M), Germany ($4.6M), Mexico ($3.7M), Australia ($3.2M), Italy ($2.8M), Brazil ($2.4M), Indonesia ($1.5M), Thailand ($1.1M) and Taiwan ($1.1M). 

In further IMAX info, Korea posted the 4th highest opening day in the market on Wednesday andthe 3rd highest Thursday, achieving the rankings despite the long runtime versus its other Top 3 titles.

In France, IMAX scored the 2nd biggest opening day ever on Wednesday, and despite the distraction of the World Cup semi-final. France also posted the 2nd highest Thursday for IMAX. 

Along with China, today sees full releases in Spain, the UK and Japan as well as Poland, Turkey, India and Vietnam.  

We’ll continue to follow throughout the weekend. 

PREVIOUS, THURSDAY UPDATE: James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water opened Wednesday in 15 material international box office markets, including France, Germany, Italy and Korea, and has posted an estimated $15.8M overall through yesterday. 

Market shares are strong, including some at the 99% level (Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, notably). On a like-for-like basis at today’s exchange rates, it’s estimated that the first day overall results are 124% ahead of the original Avatar, 70% above Top Gun: Maverick, 13% higher than Jurassic World: Dominion, 12% behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and 23% behind Spider-Man: No Way Home.

As we reported yesterday, China had sneaks on Wednesday and Thursday, in an unfortunately reduced number owing to Covid issues in the market. Not included in the total above is the RMB 37.7M ($5.41M) that previews have clocked there. The film still rules presales for the weekend, but, again, as stated yesterday, we are taking a cautious stance. 

Elsewhere, and not included in the total Wednesday number above, Korea added $2.6M on Thursday for a $5.8M running cume. The market on Wednesday had the 2nd highest opening day for the month of December ever.

In terms of Wednesday play, the Disney/20th Century Studios release was No. 1 in all markets. In Europe, 71% of box office came from 3D and other premium formats, Asia Pacific grabbed 39% and Latin America saw 55%.

France enjoyed the 4th best launch day of the pandemic with $2.9M and amid great distraction from our win over Morocco in the World Cup semi-final. 

Germany scored the 2nd biggest opening day of the pandemic era and the top start for 2022 with $2.5M. Italy had 90% market share and the 4th best pandemic start at $1.6M. Sweden nabbed the top launch day of 2022 with 92% market share at $600K.

Before some markets begin in earnest, there are strong previews (not included in the total Wednesday tally above). Mexico’s sneaks are at $1.5M and Brazil’s at $1M for a total $4.4M across the whole Latin America region. Despite only being previews, The Way of Water was No. 1 in all Latin American markets on Wednesday. In the main, 55% of box office for the region came from 3D and other premium formats.  

Elsewhere, Australia registered $1.3M of previews (again not included in the $15.8M to date reported above).

Here are the official Top 5 markets through Wednesday: Korea ($3.3M), France ($2.9M), Germany ($2.5M), Italy ($1.6M) and Indonesia ($800K).

There are more openings to come throughout today and Friday including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, the UK and Japan.

As ever, we will continue to monitor and report through the weekend. 

PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY: James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water began its international box office rollout today in such majors as Korea, France, Germany and Italy — and with early sneaks in China. One of the most anticipated movies of recent years, it’s dominating play.

Some individual market grosses for opening day will come tomorrow, but for now we can report that Korea opened to $3.24M including midnights and with an 85% market share. This is lower than comps like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Avengers: Infinity War which also debuted on a Wednesday. However, as we have previously noted, the three-hour-plus runtime makes this appointment viewing for some — today was a workday in the market. The Naver score is 9.48 which is above both of the comps cited above.

In China, The Way of Water had been planned for 3,000 showings at 7pm local today, but ended up doing just 1,688 screenings per our information. This is a result of the ongoing Covid issues in the market where 73% of cinemas are open and there is a confidence issue amid the about-face from the government on the zero-Covid policy. The resultant sneaks, before official opening on Friday, were worth RMB 20M ($2.9M). We wrote yesterday that $100M was possible in China this opening weekend; we are now taking a more cautious stance, even if hope springs. Douban and Maoyan critical and social scores have not yet posted. 

Elsewhere, The Way of Water was tops in its afternoon showings in France today, notching 79,000 admissions from 1,210 screens for $728K. Notably, numbers were good for dubbed versions which indicates family play. France has a mega distraction today in that we are playing Morocco in the World Cup semi-final this evening and that’s likely to impact, as we wrote yesterday, the later showings. (Anecdotally, in the parking lot of my local giant supermarket four hours before the match, it was impossible to find a spot as the whole of my area descended to stock up for the semis.)

In other parts of Asia, we hear that early indications are encouraging from Philippines and Thailand. 

There is much more to come on this Disney/20th Century Studios sequel which notably adds Australia, Brazil and Mexico on Thursday ahead of the UK, Spain, and Japan on Friday — we’ll be following through the weekend.