EXCLUSIVE: We are hearing from our sources that James Cameron’s sequel to his highest grossing movie in the world, Avatar: The Way of Water, is currently on its way to a $17M Thursday night from showtimes that began at 3PM.
As we always, these figures may fluctuate. Right now Avatar: The Way of Water‘s Thursday is around that of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 ($17M Thursday night, $56M Friday, $146.5M 3-day), and just under Jurassic World‘s ($18.5M Thursday from 7PM showtimes, $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 at 2 hours and 56 minutes, while Avatar: The Way of Water runs at 3 hours and 12 minutes.
Here’s what you have to keep in mind about Avatar 2: People are going to flock to this by appointment viewing. It’s for that reason why distribution sources are expecting this movie to hold weekend to weekend, even if it comes in the low end this weekend. Avatar 2 won’t be frontloaded like Marvel pics (Note Black Panther: Wakanda Forever posted a $28M Thursday night, an $84.2M Friday and $181.3M 30-day). Moviegoers seeing Avatar 2 want the perfect seat, perfect time, perfect format. I’m hearing that showtimes for prime 3D, Imax, Dolby and premium format viewings are hard to come by in LA, NYC and Phoenix. It’s the experience auditoriums which will be the drivers of this pic’s weekend ticket sales.
By tomorrow, Avatar 2 will be in play at 4,100 theaters (or 12K screens) stateside, comprised of 400 Imax auditoriums, 950 PLFs (75% being 3D), 3,000 3D theaters, 280 D-box/4D motion auditoriums, and 85 ScreenX locations.
Through this AM, box office analytics corp EntTelligence reports that the preview night and opening day of Avatar 2 represent only 53% sales are for opening weekend, “which is a very good thing,” reports the org.
“It means that this movie is not front loaded with steep box office drops. By way of comparison, a superhero movie often has 70+% of PreSales in for Preview Night/Opening Day. Lower than 70% is a strong indicator of success. 53% eclipses that benchmark,” reports EntTelligence.
Another indicator that Avatar 2 is not frontloaded: 23% of all presales are for after opening weekend. The film’s subsequent days of release, after opening weekend, are doing better than Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Average ticket price for a 3D premium general seat is at $18.28 for Avatar 2, versus $12.53 for a 2D seat, and last weekend’s average theater ticket price of $12.04.
The sequel has been Fandango’s #1 ticket-seller every day since Monday, Dec. 5. The Jon Landau produced sequel has also seen the largest share of 3D ticket sales on Fandango since 2015’s 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 premium large screen formats.
First day overseas B.O. for Avatar: The Way of Water per Nancy is $15.8M from 15 material international box office markets, including France, Germany, Italy and Korea, and another $5.4M from sneak previews in China for a grand running total of $21.2M.
Avatar: The Way of Water is 80% certified fresh among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, just under the 82% they gave it for 2009’s Avatar.
More updates tomorrow AM.