Avatar: The Way Of Water Tops Box Office For Extremely Rare 7th Weekend

For much of the back half of 2022, a large percentage of people who love movies or work in the business were wondering — could "Avatar: The Way of Water" actually be the hit it needed to be, 13 years after the original became the highest-grossing movie of all time? Any doubters (myself included) have been good and truly silenced. Case in point, this past weekend, James Cameron's underwater space epic topped the charts for the seventh time in a row, marking the first time that has happened since the original "Avatar" came out. It's now the fourth biggest movie ever, recently passing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," and should pass "Titanic" for the #3 spot any day now. Never. Doubt. James. Cameron.

As for the particulars, "Way of Water" took in $15.7 million domestically, dropping just 22% in its seventh weekend, per Box Office Mojo. The only other time a movie topped the U.S. charts for at least seven consecutive weekends was when Cameron's own "Titanic" did so for an astounding 15 weekends back in '97/'98. The sequel's total now stands at $620.5 million domestic and $1.49 billion internationally for $2.11 billion total. Needless to say, even with a budget said to be as high as $450 million, Disney is very happy.

With little major competition from new releases, Universal's "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" held firmly onto the number two spot in its sixth weekend with another $10.6 million. The animated flick dropped just 10% week-to-week despite being available on VOD for some time now. With no other family flicks in theaters, this "Shrek" spin-off is chasing into the tune of $334 million worldwide thus far. It will, at the very least, earn $350 before its run is over.

Infinity Pool sinks, Fear scares up a little something

The weekend's new releases were both for the genre crowd and, in both cases, they did little to compete with what was already out there putting meat in seats. Brandon Cronenberg's "Infinity Pool" (read our review here), which stars Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth, earned just $2.7 million from more than 1,800 screens in its opening weekend. This one was always going to have a tough time breaking through with mainstream audiences but still, the result is not what NEON was likely hoping for. The C- CinemaScore doesn't inspire confidence in good word of mouth, either.

Meanwhile, director Deon Taylor's horror flick "Fear" arrived with little fanfare and debuted all the way at number 12 on the charts with just $1.28 million. The good news here is that Hidden Empire Releasing surely had no delusions about what this movie could do on less than 1,000 screens with very little promotion. If they kept the budget low enough, it could always make its money back through VOD/streaming. But it's not doing much to get people out to theaters.

In more holdover news, Tom Hanks' "A Man Called Otto" continued to do well for the adult-skewing crowd, adding $6.7 million in its fifth weekend. With $70.9 million thus far, it's a rare adult flick that has broken through in recent years. The only problem is with a $50 million budget, it still has a long way to go to touch profit. Meanwhile, "M3GAN" ($6.3 million) and the Bollywood thriller "Pathaan" ($5.9 million) rounded out the top five. You can check out the full list of the top ten from this past weekend below.

Top ten movies at the box office, January 27 – 29, 2023.

1. "Avatar: The Way of Water" – $15.7 million

2. "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish" – $10.6 million

3. "A Man Called Otto" – $6.7 million

4. "M3GAN" – $6.3 million

5. "Pathaan" – $5.9 million

6. "Missing" – $5.6 million

7. "Plane" – $3.8 million

8. "Infinity Pool" – $2.7 million

9. "Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist" – $2.36 million

10. "The Wandering Earth II" – $1.35 million