February 1, 2023

Being the last tentpole release before the arrival of a James Cameron movie has a great advantage: you can dominate during the calm before the storm. That’s the upside of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” enjoying its fifth consecutive weekend at No. 1 during an otherwise dead-quiet box office.

The 13-year sequel to the greatest movie of all time, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” is also the first Cameron-directed feature film since 2009’s “Avatar.” Despite its monstrous success at the box office, “Avatar” has also endured a lot of criticism for a decade: from accusations that it was a “Pocahontas” scam, to arguments that it had no lasting impact on pop music. culture, to obsessions about the typeface used for the title. No one is quite sure “The Way of Water” can replicate the success of the original film – not even Cameron himself.

But Hollywood has learned not to bet against a James Cameron movie. Since “Wakanda Forever” came out on November 11, the release schedule has been very quiet, with new movies largely made up of Oscar nominees and mid-budget fare like “Violent Night.” No studio wants one of their top contenders caught between a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and a James Cameron movie: The risks of being overrun by “Wakanda Forever” or crushed by “The Way of Water” are too great .

All this means that, according to The Wrap, it was the second-lowest box office weekend of the year, second only to the January 28 weekend when “Spider-Man: No Way Home” enjoyed its seventh weekend at the #1 spot. (insert joke here about Spider-Man being very leggy).

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever crosses $400 million domestically

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” added another $11 million to its domestic total this weekend, skipping the $400 million mark to a total of $409 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $767.8 million – slightly more than “Thor: Love and Thunder” but significantly lower than “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, which had very strong overseas numbers. On the domestic side, however, “Multiverse of Madness” peaked at $411 million, meaning “Wakanda Forever” is a sneeze away from becoming the biggest MCU movie of the year at the North American box office.

Now all eyes will be on “Avatar: The Way of Water” as we find out if we’re in for another “Avatar” movie after this movie, or if the dawn of the “Avatar” dynasty is dawning. According to The Wrap, “The Way of Water” is expected to debut north of $150 million… but how far north remains to be seen.

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