Avatar 2’s Opening Weekend Gross Really Doesn’t Matter As Much As You Think


Avatar: The Way of Water had a big $134 million opening weekend at the box office, but it may not matter much for its total earning potential.


Avatar: The Way of Water is making a big splash in its first week at the box office, but these initial numbers aren’t the most important part of its ultimate performance. Following the record setting box office of Avatar, which was the second James Cameron film in a row to become the all-time box office champion, expectations have been high for the Avatar sequel’s box office performance.


With a big splash in its first weekend, reporting $134.1 million at the domestic box office, Avatar: The Way of Water is James Cameron’s biggest opening weekend box office of his career. While $134.1 million domestically and $307.6 million internationally for a cumulative $441.7 million global total, are all impressive numbers, they aren’t as important for Avatar 2‘s total box office potential, assuming it behaves like Cameron’s last two box office behemoths, Avatar and Titanic.

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Related: Can Avatar 2 Actually Earn Enough At The Box Office To Be Profitable?


James Cameron movies Have Way Longer Legs Than Other Movies in the Top 10

Best Way To Watch Avatar The Way of Water In Theaters

Titanic and Avatar hold the #3 and #1 spots in all-time box office (respectively), but their path to box office glory doesn’t look like any of the other movies in the list of top 10 all-time box office earners. While the eight non-Cameron movies in the top 10 had an average opening weekend gross of $234.8 million, the average drop-off in the second weekend is 55 percent. Conversely, Avatar opened to $77 million and only dropped 1.8 percent in its second weekend, while Titanic opened to $28.6 million and increased its second weekend haul by 23.8 percent. Despite their low openings, Titanic and Avatar‘s strong legs propelled them to the top of the list.

James Cameron Movies Only Make a Small Percent of Total Box Office Opening Weekend

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To further illustrate the significance of Titanic and Avatar‘s box office behavior, the opening weekend box office of the non-Cameron movies in the top 10 averages 35.1 percent of their total domestic haul, while Titanic‘s $28 million opening weekend only accounts for 4.3 percent of its total box office and Avatar’s $77 million is only 9.8 percent of its total box office haul. The next lowest in the top 10 is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for which the opening weekend box office accounted for 26.5 percent of its total box office run.

It’s not clear yet if Avatar: The Way of Water will follow the same pattern as Cameron’s other movies in the top 10; however with Avatar and Titanic’s box office behavior being so starkly contrasted against the other movies in the top 10, which all behave relatively similar to each other, it shouldn’t be assumed Avatar 2‘s box office will be as front loaded as other mega blockbusters. Cameron’s track record at the box office is undeniable, but whether he can repeat the success of Titanic and Avatar entirely depends on Avatar: The Way of Water to post a similarly strong legs, meaning its opening weekend may not be the best indicator of the movie’s box office potential.

Related: This Is Why Avatar: The Way Of Water Is Going To Be A Massive Hit

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