Over a decade after the release of the first film, “Avatar 2” had high expectations, costing more than $350 million.

New York – “Avatar: The Path of Water ” It didn’t make as big a splash as many thought, but James Cameron’s big-budget spectacle helped bring life to the box office this weekend. The sequel earned $134 million from North American theaters and $300.5 million worldwide for a global cume of $434.5 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

It tied with “The Batman” as the fourth-biggest domestic debut of the year, behind “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ( 187.4 million dollars in May), “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” ( 181 million in November) and “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($144.2 million in July).

There were high expectations for “Avatar 2,” which grossed more than $350 million, the pressure to follow up the highest-grossing film of all time a decade later (thanks to various re-releases) and a The hard work of running an exhibition business that is still far from normal. Everything about “Avatar” is big, though: the Na’vi characters, the runtime (an astounding three hours and 12 minutes), the technological advancements and the 20th Century Studios and The Walt Disney Co.

The film opened internationally on Wednesday and debuted in North America on Thursday evening. Domestically, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was released in 4,202 theaters on more than 12,000 screens, 400 of which were IMAX 3D. Studios and filmmakers bet on the draw of the 3D format and premium big screens and high prices.

As of late Friday, “Avatar: The Way of Water” had already earned $53 million in the U.S. and Canada and $180.1 million worldwide, helped by China’s release — “Minions: The Rise of.” It is the first major Hollywood release in the country after. Gru” in August. It blew “Avatar’s” $26.7 million out of the water on its first day in 2009, even though that didn’t include Thursday scenes.

Like many of Cameron’s ambitious projects, from “Titanic” to the first “Avatar,” nerves ran high for the expensive sequel, one of the most expensive of all time, which began production five years ago. was It faced repeated delays and suffered from weather The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019. It is one of four “Avatar” sequels Cameron has in mind. A third film to be shot simultaneously with “The Way of Water” has already been shot with an expected release in December 2024.

In the 13 years since the first film, “Avatar” has also been the center of jokes for the perception that the biggest film of all time, which has grossed nearly $3 billion, has left a relatively small footprint in culture. But despite this, critics have largely sided with “Waterway”, not just for the visuals but for improving upon the first story. It has a 78% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” has the benefit of a holiday vibe that relatively big blockbuster-style films don’t. Next week sees the debut of Damien Chazelle’s “Babylon” and the family-friendly “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.”

The hope is that audiences will continue to seek out “Avatar 2” for weeks and months to come, just like the first film.

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