Box Office: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Keeps Swimming With Sixth Consecutive Weekend at No. 1

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It’s the sixth weekend of release for “Avatar: The Way of Water” and James Cameron’s science-fiction sequel is still floating atop the box office, ahead of new release “Missing.”

Playing in 3,790 theaters, “The Way of Water” added $4.6 million to its haul on Friday, pushing its domeestic total to $582 million. That roughly marks a 35% drop from its previous outing — another strong hold for the holiday release as it continues to keep momentum up through January.

The “Avatar” sequel has made more than its 2009 predecessor had at this point in its run, though it continues to put up heavier drops. Domestic total for the sequel should be on the edge of $600 million by Monday, putting the film just a stone’s throw away from taking down “Incredibles 2” ($608 million) as the 12th-highest grossing film of all time in North America.

On a global scale, “The Way of Water” officially surpassed “Spider-Man: No Way Home” as the sixth-highest grossing film of all time on Wednesday, having generated $1.928 billion globally. The film’s next milestone will be crossing the $2 billion mark, which has only been achieved by five films, ever: “Avatar” ($2.9 billion), “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.79 billion), “Titanic” ($2.2 billion), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.069 billion) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($2.04 billion).

Stage 6 Films and Screen Gems’ “Missing” is the only new wide release from a major studio this weekend. The thriller, distributed by Sony Pictures, picked up $3.4 million on its opening day and is aiming for a third or fourth place finish on domestic charts. It’s in a solid place considering its thrifty $7 million production budget.

A follow-up to 2018’s “Searching,” the film follows a teenager (Storm Reid) looking for her mother (Nia Long); the film is told through the characters’ screen devices, poring over internet logs and text conversations. Nick Johnson and Will Merrick helm the picture for their directorial debut.

Second place looks to go to Universal’s “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” putting up another fantastic hold, projecting a mere 14% drop for the week. After a somewhat quiet opening over the holidays, the DreamWorks production has caught fire recent weeks, while also benefiting from a lack of competition for family audiences. Though the “Shrek” spinoff is already available to purchase digitally, that doesn’t seem to have slowed it down; the domestic total looks to reach $127 million by Monday.

Columbia’s “A Man Called Otto” is projecting a $9 million gross for the weekend, less than a 30% drop from its expansion over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. That’s fantastic news for the Tom Hanks vehicle, which has become one of the rare adult-oriented dramas to find a substantial audience at the box office. Domestic total should push to $35 million by Monday.

Finally, Universal’s horror-comedy “M3GAN” is also projecting roughly $9 million for the weekend, which would mark a 50% tumble from its previous outing. The Blumhouse and Atomic Monster co-production will push its domestic total north of $70 million by the end of the weekend.

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