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It’s about to be a very Pandora Christmas at the movies. “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which opened solidly last weekend to $134 million, is poised to dominate box office charts again in its second outing.

James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel on Monday added a healthy $16 million, bringing its four-day domestic tally to $150 million. Internationally, the film collected $38.8 million on Monday, taking its international total to $346.8 million and global result to $497.1 million. By Tuesday, it’ll be one of eight films this year to cross the $500 million mark worldwide and by the end of the year, the $350 million-budgeted tentpole is aiming to hit the $1 billion mark.

Over the extended weekend, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is projected to decline 40% to 50% from its debut, putting ticket sales around $67 million to $80 million. It’s also expected to continue posting big numbers during the days leading up to Christmas, which falls on Sunday.

With the release of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Disney has crossed $4 billion at the global box office to date. Thanks to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($955 million), “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($789 million and counting) and “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the studio’s tally stands at $4.049 billion. By comparison, Disney fielded a record $11 billion worldwide in 2019 with its murder’s row of blockbusters including “Avengers: Endgame” and “The Lion King.”

This time around, “Avatar 2” has a little more competition on movie theater marquees. Three major movies — director Damien Chazelle’s glitzy showbiz epic “Babylon,” Universal’s animated “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and Sony’s Whitney Houston biopic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — will open, but they aren’t expected to give “Avatar 2” much of a fight for the top spot. Overall, it’s a lighter Christmas season than usual, much to the disappointment of cinema owners.

The “Puss in Boots” sequel, set in the “Shrek” universe, is expected to secure the best start among newcomers, with projections at $25 million to $30 million from 4,000 North American theaters. It’s getting a jump on the holiday weekend by opening on Wednesday when kids are off for winter break. The higher end of estimates wouldn’t be far off from the original “Puss in Boots,” which opened to $34 million in 2011. The first “Shrek” spinoff eventually grossed $554 million globally, enough to merit a sequel.

Already, the animated adventure about a swashbuckling feline has generated a soft $14 million from 25 international markets. It’ll open in 28 additional markets, including China, Mexico and Spain, over the weekend.

With the exception of Universal and Illumination’s “Minions: The Rise of Gru” and its $939 million global tally, family films have struggled greatly in pandemic times. “Puss in Boots 2,” which cost $90 million to make, looks to benefit from lack of competition through the rest of the year. The next major movie to target younger audiences is “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” which doesn’t open until April 2023.

“Babylon” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” will vie for third place with each movie hoping to bring in $12 million to $15 million between Friday and Monday.

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which sees Naomi Ackie embody the late pop icon Whitney Houston, is targeting older females, another demographic that’s been mostly reluctant to go to the movies. Reviews have been under embargo as of Tuesday afternoon, so it’s unclear how critical sentiment will impact turnout. It cost $45 million to produce. Recent musical biopics, like “Elvis,” “Rocketman” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” have resonated at the box office, though the Aretha Franklin story “Respect” struggled to connect in theaters in pandemic times.

The R-rated “Babylon,” featuring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt as Hollywood stars amid a rapidly changing industry, cost $78 million to produce, so it’ll need to sustain momentum through awards season to justify its price tag. Otherwise, it could be the latest adult-driven drama to misfire at the box office. The film isn’t opening internationally until January. If it does miss the mark, however, it’ll be the lone blemish on Paramount’s otherwise stellar year at the box office, with hits ranging from “Top Gun: Maverick” to the creepy thriller “Smile.”

“Babylon” has generated mixed reviews, with some critics praising its ambition and glamour and others critiquing the muddled plot. At three hours and nine minutes, its runtime will limit showings and potentially deter audiences. But hey, at least it’s shorter than “Avatar: The Way of Water.”