‘Avatar 2‘ Continues Box Office Domination, ’Puss in Boots’ Sequel Stays Surprisingly Strong

James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water” has claimed the No. 1 spot at the domestic box office for the sixth consecutive weekend.

The sci-fi epic added $20 million from 3,790 theaters over the weekend, declining roughly 40% from its prior outing and boosting its North American tally to $598 million. It’s currently the 13th-highest grossing domestic release in history behind “Incredibles 2” ($608 million), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($620 million) and “The Avengers” ($623 million), but it’s expected to eventually overtake those films.

Notably, “The Way of Water” is officially the sixth film to ever cross $2 billion worldwide. It has amassed a staggering $2.02 billion at the worldwide box office, recently taking down “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ($1.91 billion) as the sixth-highest grossing release of all time. It’s likely to soon dethrone “Avengers: Infinity War” as the fifth-biggest movie with $2.04 billion.

Though the Na’vi have continued to dominate the box office with ease, Universal’s animated adventure “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has remained surprisingly strong since debuting around Christmas. Now in its fifth weekend of release, the kid-friendly sequel took second place with $11.5 million from 3,611 cinemas. To date, “Puss in Boots 2” has grossed $126.4 million domestically and $297 million globally — a huge result at a time when family films haven’t been resonating as much at the box office.

In terms of new releases, Sony’s suspense thriller “Missing” took the No. 4 spot with $9.3 million from 3,025 theaters. That’s a pretty good start since the film was produced for just $7 million. Storm Reid stars in “Missing” as a daughter whose mother never returns home from vacation with her new boyfriend. It’s billed as a standalone sequel to 2018’s “Searching” with John Cho, which was also set entirely on computer screens and smartphones. That movie, which cost under $1 million to make, opened to $6 million and ultimately earned $26 million in North America and $75 million globally.

“This is a very good opening for a low-budget follow-up sequel,” says David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “This is a very profitable and growing series.”

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Universal’s killer-doll movie “M3GAN” slid to third place, generating $9.8 million from 3,628 theaters in its third weekend in theaters. The low-budget film, which became a viral sensation and was recently parodied on “Saturday Night Live,” had grossed a killer $72 million and $127 million worldwide. Naturally, a sequel, titled “M3GAN 2.0,” is already in the works.

Sony’s heartfelt drama “A Man Called Otto,” starring Tom Hanks, rounded out the top five. The film declined just 34% from last weekend, generating $9 million from 3,802 venues and boosting its domestic tally to $35.3 million.

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