Movie Monday: Just Call It ‘Avatar: The Way of Money’

Avatar: The Way of Water took the box-office crown for the seventh-straight weekend, banking an estimated $15.7 million in North American grosses to push its overall domestic earnings to $620.6 million. That makes it the 11th highest-grossing film of all time stateside.

If you turn the page and factor in overseas earnings, The Way of Water has earned about $2.1 billion, making it the globe’s fourth highest-grossing film—trailing the original Avatar ($2.9 billion) Avengers: Endgame ($2.8 billion) and Titanic ($2.2 billion), which might add a few more bucks to its coffers with a theatrical rerelease Feb. 10.

All that means that James Cameron—who directed both the Avatar movies and Titanic—likely has enough money to build his own planet by now.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish continues its own impressive climb up the money tree. The animated family movie banked another $10.6 million, pushing its domestic tally to $140.8 million. You could say the film is really catshing in. (Get it? Cat? Cash? Oh, never mind.)

A Man Called Otto climbed up to third place this weekend with $6.8 million. That pushed it ahead of fourth-place M3GAN, which still managed to dance to $6.4 million.

The box office’s biggest surprise, though, might’ve been the film that landed in fifth place. Pathaan, an Indian-language epic playing on just 695 screens, collected nearly $6 million. It’s another data point that tells us that American audience are looking for new, creative stories—and increasingly turning their eyes overseas to find them.

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

4 Responses

  1. – I was surprised that Avatar: The Way of Water was nominated for Best Picture. I respect it as a technical achievement, but it just felt hollow on a human level. Like opening a beautiful diamond-encrusted gold box and finding an undercooked hot dog inside.

    When it comes to blockbuster sequels, I’ll take Top Gun: Maverick any day. It’s too bad Tom Cruise wasn’t nominated for Best Actor. There’s tough competition this year, but his performance was a master class in charisma and old-school star power.

    1. -Yep, I’m hoping for either Maverick or Everything Everywhere All At Once to take the top prize and for the latter to take Visual Effects, because for a movie that cost ~1/8 of what a Marvel movie costs, the visuals just never ceased to amaze. Avatar 2, meanwhile, looked good in IMAX but largely felt like a waste of a 3D surcharge since the effect didn’t feel used very often or very well, especially since a lot of important scenes took place at night, which made the movie borderline indecipherable with 3D glasses on (cf. Deathly Hallows Part 2).

      1. Yeah, I saw it in 3D too and wasn’t blown away because it seemed to darken the picture and mute the colors, as usual. The first Avatar launched a 3D fad, so we’ll see if it makes another comeback. I think 3D is annoying when it’s used in a gimmicky way and too dark when it’s not, so why bother with it? (I know, money.)

        I’m rooting for Tar for Best Picture, although I realize its appeal isn’t as broad as some of the other nominees. But the Oscars have a recent history of rewarding movies relatively few people have seen, so you never know.

        1. -I’d recalled someone mentioning Tár but couldn’t remember who. Blanchett is a fantastic actress, though, and I’d expect her to be able to carry a concept like this. I might have to check this out, thanks.

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