James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” is now looking to string together seven weekends atop the domestic box office. That’s a run of No. 1 finishes that now ranks as the 12th-most ever for a domestic release, tying the numbers of the sci-fi film’s 2009 predecessor and, funnily, another family drama with an aquatic emphasis in the title: the Henry and Jane Fonda’s 1981 film “On Golden Pond.”
“The Way of Water” earned $3.5 million from 3,600 locations on Friday, down a soft 25% from its previous outing. The “Avatar” sequel has now surged past the $600 million mark at the domestic box office, with the potential to unseat “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ($620.1 million) as the 11th-highest grossing North American release of all time once the weekend is out. Total domestic gross currently stands at $608 million.
On Thursday, “The Way of Water” became the fifth highest-grossing movie in global box office history with $2.05 billion, passing “Avengers: Infinity War.” Only “Avatar” ($2.92 billion), “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.79 billion), “Titanic” ($2.19 billion) and “Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens” ($2.07 billion) rank higher on the all-time list.
While “Avatar 2” has seen little high-profile competition in the weeks since the holidays, an international blockbuster did land stateside this weekend, projecting a finish in the domestic box office’s top five. The action-espionage thriller “Pathaan” drew an estimated $1.86 million opening day gross from 694 locations, landing the best per-theater average of any release on Friday.
“Pathaan” is an Indian blockbuster starring Shah Rukh Khan, a Bollywood legend headlining his first film in nearly five years, alongside Deepika Padukone and John Abraham. Internationally, the film landed the biggest opening day gross ever for a Hindi-language production on Jan. 25. It is projected to land in third or fourth on domestic charts, drawing an opening weekend gross in the high seven-figure range.
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