Not a person in the world would’ve denied that the release of Avatar: The Way of Water would draw in an audience, but the question was always just how big the film might go. It could follow the Marvel box office formula with a massive opening but not have the same legs as its original. The film was set to make up to $170M according to analysts, and it does seem like it’s still on track towards at least $150M with it having pulled in a strong $17M in early previews.
It would put it on pace to become one of the highest opening films of the year, but will likely not dehtrone either dominating Marvel Studios’ productions that pulled in over $180M. Though, early critical reception is very positive and could give it a much bigger boost than anyone might be expecting at this point. Still, the $17M are lower than Jurassic World: Dominion that opened to $18M and with an international push managed to get past a billion. The original had some massive legs and projections also have it making upwards of $350M in its Chinese run, something Marvel hasn’t had the privilege to in a while.
The film has opened in 44 international markets and pulled in $50.4M excluding China, where it pulled in $18.5M. With a $100M opening in China it does have a chance to potentially dehtrone Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as the highest opening film of the year. Word-of-mouth might be what pushes this film forward even if it’s unclear just how far the film might go. The Way of Water only has the caveat that it needs to make a lot of money to end up profitable for James Cameron‘s vision of multiple films to come true.