Movie theaters need Avatar to be a tortoise

Theater owners are banking on Avatar to keep making bank.

Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

To understand all the creatures in Pandora, the fictional world of Avatar: The Way of Water, you need a glossary. There are titanotheres, hexapedes, direhorses, and more.

But as far as the movie industry is concerned, according to the Los Angeles Times, the only question regarding animals and Avatar that matters is simple: Will The Way of Water be a tortoise or a hare?

Most blockbusters are hares

They open with huge box offices and fade.

Marvel’s blockbusters average a box office drop of ~57% between the first and second weekends. Spider-Man: No Way Home, which had the highest-grossing debut weekend in history, plummeted 68% its second weekend.

Director James Cameron has typically been an exception to this rule:

  • Titanic opened with ~$53m and followed with $71m.
  • Avatar opened with $77m and followed with $75.6m.

The Way of Water brought in $434.5m globally last weekend

According to EntTelligence, an analytics platform, the timing of the film’s gross potentially sets it up for tortoise status:

  • 53% of The Way of Water’s box office haul came from its preview night and opening day. EntTelligence claims that any share lower than 70% — the average for superhero flicks — portends a greater chance for sustained success.

The stakes are high. Americans didn’t flock to theaters over Thanksgiving, typically a major box office weekend, and theater owners badly need a hit. Plus, Cameron has said The Way of Water must make $2B+ to turn a profit.

BTW: If you see Avatar and feel sad afterwards, don’t freak out. You might just have post-Avatar depression.

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