The Way Of Water Swims To A $435 Million Global Opening Weekend

As I explained yesterday, the real test for “Avatar: The Way of Water” is still to come. Just as the first movie grossed a relatively modest $77 million in its domestic opening weekend, before going on to make box office history, the future of “Avatar” sequels will depend on whether “The Way of Water” can keep filling seats week after week. A lack of competition at the holiday box office and throughout January will certainly help it there.

China was once crucial to the box office for blockbusters, but has been less of a focus for studios in recent years as the government moved to limit the number of foreign releases allowed in theaters per year. “Avatar: The Way of Water” was granted one of the rare slots for U.S. movies, and grossed $57.1 million from China over its opening weekend. The first movie has a lifetime gross of $261 million from China, with $41 million of that made in its opening weekend.

The pioneering visual effects of “Avatar” — particularly its execution of 3D, the current iteration of which was still a novelty for moviegoers — were definitely a driving force behind the first movie’s box office. “The Way of Water” doesn’t benefit from the same level of hype for its own 3D, but it does have cutting-edge VFX that took years to perfect, plus the use of a higher frame rate for certain action scenes, so it’s definitely still a visual spectacle. It remains to be seen whether that, coupled with the temptation of returning to Pandora, will be enough to replicate the success of the first movie.

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