Avatar Sequel Needs a Stronger 2nd Week

Box office experts and producers anticipate greater ticket sales as Avatar: The Way of Water enters its second week.

The Avatar sequel movie didn’t live up to experts’ and production’s expectations when it premiered last week. The total revenue from domestic ticket sales was about $134 million. However, the initial week of ticket sales fell $1 million shy of Disney’s forecasted $135 to $150 million range.

Furthermore, it fell well short of the $175 million domestic sales that box office experts predicted—the Batman movie from Warner Bros. and the most recent Avatar movie tied for fifth-best openings in 2022. Numerous experts are already questioning James Cameron’s $2 billion worldwide box office target due to the film’s lower-than-anticipated first-week sales.

The Avatar movie earned $600 million last Thursday, or about one-fourth of director James Cameron’s budget. According to analysts, the second week of the Avatar movie will determine its financial success.

According to some commentators, a movie’s second opening week performance and how long it stays in theaters are related. According to analysts, the second week saw a 50% to 70% decline in most film attendance.

“I think ‘Avatar 2’ will continue to slay all day through the year and into the next. The drop will be sizable, sure, but not like a traditional Marvel drop as Cameron’s film is really the only game in town for families for weeks, if not months,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst from the Exhibitor Relations.

“In the big picture, I’d expect a leggy box office run whose story won’t be told on opening weekend alone. This is not a comic book blockbuster with an apparent rabid fan base to front-load sales. James Cameron’s films have historically engaged general audiences deep into their theatrical windows. However, it’s worth considering that the box office climate has changed even since his previous Avatar film in 2009,” said Shawn Robbins, BoxOffice.com chief media analyst.

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Avatar does not have a competitor

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the next big movie from Disney, will come out on February 17. This would provide Avatar: The Way of Water a window of time without a serious rival. It should so have the attention of all die-hard Marvel fans. Additionally, about 5% of all ticket sales each year are for Christmas and New Year’s events. Before Covid, holiday sales weeks often ranged between $400 million and $600 million.

Box office earnings have decreased as a result of the pandemic. Sales of tickets have reduced by 35% since 2019-ish. However, as nations loosen their prohibitions on Covid, the last week of this year should help films grow in popularity and generate considerable income. Avatar mainly received favorable reviews from critics, with some claiming that it deserves to be considered one of the year’s top films. Reviews were nonetheless positive despite many feeling that the film’s three hours were excessive.

“This second weekend has long been destined for deflated numbers due to Christmas Eve, but that’s why it’s so critical to view the film’s run based on the strength of weekdays and weekends combined over the long holiday corridor,” BoxOffice.com chief analyst Shawn Robbins said.

“There have been a number of pre-determined headlines about this sequel for years, but let’s wait and reserve judgment based on what the global numbers tell us over the next couple of weeks,” he added.

“James Cameron is no stranger to the importance of the long game when it comes to the box office. His films [have previously relied] heavily on the currency of audience excitement building over time rather than an opening weekend pop,” said Comscore social media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“I like difficult. I’m attracted by difficulty. Difficult is a fucking magnet for me. So I go straight to difficult. And I think it probably goes back to this idea that there are many smart, gifted, talented filmmakers out there that just can’t do the difficult stuff. So that gives me a tactical edge to do something nobody else has ever seen because the gifted people don’t fucking want to do it,” said Cameron.

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A favorable feedback

Many critics were drawn to the three-hour-long Avatar film, praising its graphics and music composition. Others, however, have a different viewpoint and add that the lengthy run duration impacts the script.

“The sequel to Cameron’s 2009 box office hit, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water,’ is simply bigger and better than its predecessor in every regard,” said Eric Francisco, a movie reviewer.

“It demands the biggest screen you can find so that its most potent elements — from its impossible scale and skillful spectacle to its more complete range of emotions and thematic romanticism — can be completely absorbed,” he added.

“As is the case with most of Cameron’s films, what elevates his work is the bravado of his execution, allowing magnificent beasts and scenery prime real estate on the screen, while large-scale battles have tight spatial and rhythmic coherence.”

“Both never fail to inspire awe. The bioluminescent creatures and caverns aren’t just a dazzling visual to distract us. They work in tandem with the storytelling to create a revelatory experience.”