FRIDAY LUNCH UPDATE: Disney/20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of the Water is on the way to a $55M Friday in 4,202 theaters, which includes $17 million in Thursday previews and the No. 6 best Friday night in December, ahead of the 6 p.m. The Hobbitis $37.1M back on December 14, 2012. I’m told at this point this could still make the film $150M for the weekend. Some sources see $120M for the weekend, but I’m told they don’t have access to the presales and game patterns of this box office.
That said, if Avatar 2 comes in below $150M expectations, that’s because viewers are waiting to secure their prime seats in a premium format — and the best time may be after this weekend. I’m hearing in markets like NYC and LA, it’s hard to get Imax, Dolby or PLF tickets for this weekend. Although there is plenty of screen time in 3D for avatar 2, The US market is subpar when it comes to Imax, Dolby and major PLFs, especially given the demand here. According to recent MPAA statistics, only 35% of the state’s 43.6K screens are digital 3D.
We all know that a trip to the cinema explodes after Christmas, so the best measure of Avatar 2 is its hold on the 2nd weekend, hell, let’s see where the total is by the end of the new years weekend.
As for the rest of the box office: Disney/Marvel Studio’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at 3,380 theaters see Friday $1.7M, -41%, and sixth weekend $6M-47% for the running total $419.5M for Sunday. The sequel beat the national total Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($411.3M) on Tuesday.
Universal’s A night of violence booked at 3,525 theaters heading for $1.5M Friday, -38%, for third weekend in $5.3 million-39%, and a total on Sunday $35.2M.
The fourth belongs to Disney’s A strange world at 2,870 with a fourth Friday of $600K, weekend of $2.7 million-29% and a running total of $34.2M.
And Searchlight The menu 1,875 theaters to see $530K Friday, -36%, fifth weekend of $1.7M, -39% for total $32.1 million. The film is $2.2 million away from beating 2018 Oscar winner Searchlight. The favorite which finished domestically at $34.1M. The menu has already withstood such trippy genre titles as Midsummer ($27.4M) and Searchlight’s own Ready or not ($28.7 million).
FRIDAY’S UPDATE: Disney has officially announced that Thursday night previews for Avatar: The Way of the Water stand by $17M — as we were predicting. Foreign running conversation at the end of Thursday is $50.4M, not including China. PRC’s first day looks to be around $18.5 million, bringing the James Cameron-directed film’s total just under $86M.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes may have simmered down to a fresh 79%, however, audience response according to Comscore/Screen Engine’s Posttrak poll is through the roof with 5 stars, 91% and 82% recommending it. These are numbers any studio would aspire to. The audience was 89% general, 5% parents and 6% children under 12 years old. Men outnumbered women slightly, 59% to 41%. Viewers aged 18-34 made up 61% of all ticket buyers last night. Those who were over 45 years old were 14%. Those younger than 25 received 41%. That last number is powerful given how some were concerned about how old the property was. Again, the older Avatar fans will find their way into this movie with the right seat, the right fit they desire. No one wants to rush to see this sequel and be stuck in the 10 AM front seat in 2D. Diversity turnout was 35% white, 29% Latino and Hispanic, 15% Asian, and 13% black. These promotions will change over the weekend.
Again, as we told you the preview image is in the vicinity of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The batman. It’s also ahead of its $15.3M preview night Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdomwhich started showtimes at 19:00 (to Avatar 2 3 p.m.) and went on to post a $58.5M Friday, $148M opening weekend.
BREAKING: James Cameron Q&A: His Titanic ‘Avatar’ Sequel Bet, ‘Terminator’ Guilt, Teach Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet the 7-Minute Breath Swim
Disney reports that the 20th Century Studios title outperformed with 61% of the preview business from the showtime in 3D. The breakdown is 29% traditional 3D, 15% Imax 3D, 14% PLF 3D and 3% Motion 3D. In North America, 404 IMAX 3D screens brought in $2.63M in ticket sales, equivalent to 15.5% of the sequel’s domestic BO last night. Average Imax record: 2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens stands as the box office’s biggest box office opener with $30M, replicating 12% of that film’s $247.97M opening weekend. by Christopher Nolan Interstellar stands as the top film with the largest share of Imax box office opening weekend, at 26% ($13 million of a $50 million opening weekend).
First Avatar held midnight previews and earned $3.5M back in 2009 for a first Friday of $26.7M and 3 days of $77M. Imax screens, which were only 179 states at the time, earned $9.5 million of that number, which repeated 12.4% of its opening weekend.
Related: ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Trailer: Return To Pandora With Mighty Heartbeat
We’ll have more updates for you as they come.
NOT BEFORE: We’re hearing from our sources that James Cameron’s sequel to his highest-grossing film in the world, Avatar: The Way of Water, is now on its way to a $17M Thursday night from a showtime that began at 3 p.m.
As always, these numbers can fluctuate. Right now Avatar: The Way of the WaterThursday is around that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 ($17M Thursday night, $56M Friday, $146.5M 3 days), and just under Jurassic World‘s ($18.5M Thursday from 7pm showtime, $81.9M Friday, $208.8M opening) and that of The batman ($17.6M Thursday night off 3pm, $56.6M Friday, $134M opening). The batman ran in 2 hours and 56 minutes, meanwhile Avatar: The Way of the Water runs in 3 hours and 12 minutes.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind Avatar 2: People are going to flock to this by appointment. It is for that reason why distribution sources expect this film to hold weekend to weekend, even if it comes in low this weekend. Avatar 2 will not be front-loaded like Marvel movies (Note Black Panther: Wakanda forposted $28M Thursday night, $84.2M Friday and $181.3M 30 days). Moviegoers to see Avatar 2 you want the perfect seat, perfect time, perfect format. I’m hearing that premier 3D, Imax, Dolby and premium format showtimes are hard to come by in LA, NYC and Phoenix. It is the experience halls that will be the drivers of this film’s box office this weekend.
for tomorrow, Avatar 2 will be playing in the state’s 4,100 theaters (or 12,000 screens), comprising 400 Imax theaters, 950 PLF (75% are 3D), 3,000 3D theaters, 280 D-box/4D motion theaters, and 85 ScreenX locations.
Through this AM, box office firm EntTelligence reports that preview night and opening day Avatar 2 represents only 53% of sales are for the opening weekend, “which is very good,” says org.
“That means this image is not front-loaded by steep box drops. In comparison, a superhero movie often has 70+% advance sales on preview night/opening day. Lower than 70% is a strong indicator of success. 53% eclipse that benchmark,” says EntTelligence.
Another clue to that Avatar 2 is not front-loaded: 23% of all pre-sales are after opening weekend. The film’s next release dates, after the opening weekend, are doing better than Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The average ticket price for general 3D seating is $18.28 for avatar 2, versus $12.53 for 2D seats and last weekend’s average theater ticket price was $12.04.
The sequel has been Fandango’s #1 ticket seller every day since Monday, December 5th. The Jon Landau-produced sequel also saw the biggest share of 3D ticket sales on Fandango since 2015. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. According to a survey of more than 4,000 Avatar 2 Ticket buyers, 79% want to see more blockbusters in 3D or high quality large screen formats.
First day abroad BO for Avatar: The Way of the Water on Nancy has $15.8M from 15 key international box office markets, including France, Germany, Italy and Korea, and another $5.4M from sneak previews in China for a total of 21.2M.
Avatar: The Way of the Water is 80% certified fresh among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, up from the 82% they gave it in 2009 Avatar.
More updates tomorrow.