Without any notable competition, “Avatar: The Way of Water” continued its mighty box office reign with ease. James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel added $15.7 million from 3,600 North American theaters between Friday and Sunday, enough to claim the No. 1 spot for the seventh consecutive weekend.
So far, “Avatar 2” has generated $620 million at the domestic box office and $2.117 billion globally. On Friday, it passed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.071 billion) to become the fourth-highest grossing movie in history. Now, “The Way of Water” ranks behind only “Avatar” ($2.92 billion), “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.7 billion) and “Titanic” ($2.19 billion) in terms of worldwide ticket sales. Cameron has directed three of those four releases, putting the filmmaker in unmatched company.
Elsewhere at the box office, only one new movie — Neon’s disturbing sci-fi thriller “Infinity Pool” — opened in theaters nationwide. The R-rated film, from director Brandon Cronenberg (son of genre legend David Cronenberg), debuted to muted results, generating $2.7 million from 1,835 cinemas. Alexander Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman star in “Infinity Pool” as vacationers at a wealthy tropical island. But when a mysterious woman (played by Mia Goth) convinces the couple to venture away from the resort, they suffer a tragic accident that pushes them into a world of consequence-free violence. What unfolds next is the kind of stomach-squelching horror that makes the film’s mediocre “C-” CinemaScore unsurprising, even though critics dug “Infinity Pool” (which holds an 89% average on Rotten Tomatoes).
“This is a weak opening for an original horror movie from an indie distributor,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Reviews are excellent, but audience scores are poor.”
“Infinity Pool” landed in eighth place behind holdovers like “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” the Tom Hanks-led drama “A Man Called Otto” and the thriller “M3GAN.”
Universal’s animated adventure “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” remained in the No. 2 spot, bringing in $10.5 million (down just 11% from last weekend) from 3,452 theaters. To date, the family film has amassed $140 million in North America and a notable $334 million globally.
Sony’s heartfelt drama “A Man Called Otto” claimed third place with $6.7 million from 3,957 venues. The well-received movie has been chugging along in theaters, collecting $46 million domestically and $61 million globally after five weeks on the big screen. “A Man Called Otto” cost $50 million, so it’ll need to keep playing to justify its price tag.
Universal’s low-budget, killer-doll movie “M3GAN” took the No. 4 slot, adding $6 million from 3,416 theaters and bringing its domestic tally to $81.9 million. The movie is also slaying overseas, bringing in $7.8 million over the weekend and boosting its international tally to $63.7 million. Globally, “M3GAN” has earned $146 million on its $12 million budget.
Bollywood spy adventure “Pathaan” took fifth place with $5.9 million, an impressive result since it’s playing in just 694 theaters. The film opened on Wednesday and has grossed $8.54 million to date. Internationally, the film has generated $52.6 million, securing the biggest debut ever for a Hindi-language production. Part of the appeal of “Pathaan” is actor Shah Rukh Khan, India’s biggest male film star, who is headlining his first movie role in five years.
“As the pandemic upended the release calendar, films from India have found an amazing opportunity, landing in the top 10 on multiple occasions,” says Paul Dergarabedian, a senior Comscore analyst. “Now, ‘Pathaan’ landing in the top five [from] just 694 theaters is rare and even more impressive.”