“Avatar: The Way of Water” made a giant splash during its opening weekend, to the sound of $134 million.
That’s how much the long-awaited sequel grossed as it easily seized the No. 1 spot at the North American box office.
While it did well, “The Way of Water” performed below expectations, which were high for a good reason. After it was released in 2009, the first “Avatar” movie went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time with $2.9 billion. But in its first weekend, the original “Avatar” grossed $77 million, and “The Way of Water” did almost twice that well in its first weekend. So stayed tuned; the box office numbers could climb a lot during the Christmas season.
Last weekend, “Violent Night,” an R-rated film about Santa Claus (David Harbour) defending a wealthy family against mercenaries, remained in second place, grossing $5.6 million.
For the first time since it opened, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” wasn’t No. 1. Instead, the Marvel Studios sequel dropped to third place with a gross of $5.4 million.
The animated “Strange World” fell to fifth place with a gross $2.2 million.
“The Menu,” a horror thriller, dropped to fifth place with $1.7 million.
“Devotion,” based on the true story about Ensign Jesse Brown and Lt. Tom Hudner during the Korean War, fell to sixth place with $825,000.
“The Fabelmans,” the Steven Spielberg-directed film about an adolescent filmmaker in post-World War II Arizona, stayed in seventh place with $750,000.
“Black Adam,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the anti-hero, dropped to eighth place with $500,000.
“I Heard the Bells,” the story behind the Christmas carol and writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, remained in ninth place with $309,815.
“Empire of Light,” set in an English coastal town in the early 1980s, rose to 10th place from 21st, with a gross of $235,000.