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Movie Monday: ‘The Way of Water’ Wins Fourth Straight

Way of water box office

If someone was going to make a movie about director James Cameron, it might be titled Cameron: The Way of Money.

For the fourth straight weekend, Avatar: The Way of Water topped the domestic box office, adding another $45 million to its already overflowing coffers. The Way of Water has earned $516.8 million in North America in less than a month and shows little signs of stopping. The Avatar sequel is doing even better overseas, if you can believe it. Add in its international grosses, and The Way of Water has banked more than $1.7 billion total. Yep, you could say that The Way of Water is making cash in … waves.

Now, let’s just rewind our conversation for a minute and recall that back in November, Cameron told GQ Magazine that The Way of Water would have to be “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” to turn a profit. According to Box Office Mojo, the flick is now the seventh highest-grossing film on the books, and Variety says that The Way of Water has already sprinted past the break-even point (which, sources told the magazine, was actually a mere $1.4 billion).

“It looks … like I can’t wiggle out of this and I’m gonna have to do the other sequels,” Cameron told Variety. And with another three Avatar films planned, he added, “I know what I’m going to be doing the next six or seven years.”

How does Cameron continue to set box-office records? Well, the Plugged In staff will be talking about that very thing on an upcoming podcast.

But The Way of Water wasn’t the only film to draw an audience this weekend. Newcomer M3GAN made its own waves, exceeding projections and collecting an estimated $30.2 million in its opening weekend. Box Office Mojo reports that this is the best opening for a horror film since COVID-19 hit.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish finished third this weekend with $13.1 million. It’s now earned $87.7 million in scratch, showing that family films can still hold their own at the box office. Tom Hanks’ A Man Called Otto finished fourth with $4.3 million, and Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverwrapped up the top five by collecting another $3.4 million. Its own domestic gross stands at $445.4 million.

Oh, and can we point out one last thing before you leave you today? Despite a host of R-rated Oscar-bait flicks floating about the multiplex, every single entrant in this week’s top five was rated PG-13 or below. If only that became less of an anomaly and more of a trend.

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.

One Response

  1. -My wife and I watched the new Avatar. I thought it was monotonous, thin on story, distractingly synthetic-looking, and way, WAY too long. But my wife loved it! So to each their own.

    As far as Paul’s point about PG-13 movies commercially outperforming R-rated Oscar bait, I have a different take. I think that from a Christian perspective, morally edifying R-rated movies like Tar (with its masterful acting, directing, writing, and nuanced exploration of power, gender, art and social media) and The Banshees of Inisherin (with its sensitive performances, memorable characters, and examination of the thin line between friendship and selfishness) are far superior to a morally simplistic, creatively hollow, unremittingly violent PG-13 movie like Avatar: The Way of Water. As an animal lover, I found the prolonged whaling scene more disturbing and inappropriate for children than anything contained in the R-rated movies I mentioned. (Kudos to PI for highlighting that scene in their review.)

    Other parents can make their own calls, but I’m going to let my son watch Tar long before I let him see something like Avatar.