'Avatar: The Way Of Water' Box Office Preview: How Much Record-Breaking Movie's Sequel Could Gross And 5 Stocks To Watch

Zinger Key Points
  • The highly anticipated sequel of 2009 smash hit Avatar hits theaters this weekend.
  • A look at box office projections and five stocks to watch.

One of the most highly anticipated movies of 2022 is set to be released Dec. 16, just in time for the holidays and the end-of-year box office push.

Here’s a look at early predictions for how much “Avatar: The Way Of Water” could gross and the stocks it could help.

What Happened: Variety predicts that the “Avatar" sequel opening at $150 million to $175 million domestically.

See Also: Was The Force Strong? Here's How Much A $1,000 Investment In Disney Stock When Lucasfilm Was Acquired Is Worth Today

The movie has already seen $38 million in advance ticket sales, which is trending ahead of some of the biggest movies of 2022 including “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion” which opened to $126 million and $145 million, respectively.

Internationally, it's expected to make $250 million to $350 million on its opening weekend. That would give the movie a total opening box office of $400 million to $500 million.

Why It Matters: The stakes are high for The Walt Disney Company DIS, which owns the Avatar intellectual property thanks to its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2017.

The budget on 'Avatar 2’ was so steep that it'd "have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history" just to break even, according to its director James Cameron (production costs alone are reportedly over $350 million).

The movie’s release also coincides with Disney bringing back former CEO Bob Iger to lead the company.

The original “Avatar” movie had an opening of $77 million in 2009 — not earth-shattering at the time. But it remained at the top of the box office for a record-setting seven consecutive weeks and saw a huge spike in 3D showings on Imax Corp IMAX screens. In fact, it set an all-time record on Imax screens with $270 million, and brought in an additional $6 million when it was re-released in 2022.

“Avatar” has a lifetime gross of $785.2 million domestically, $2.14 billion in international markets and $2.92 billion worldwide. The film ranks as the top-grossing movie and ranks fourth domestically, trailing a Star Wars movie, an Avengers movie and a Spider-Man movie — all linked to Disney.

“Avatar” was a huge hit overseas, getting 73% of its overall box office from international theaters.

The sequel will be released in China, which was a market that saw $261.8 million in the box office from the 2009 original. China has been more selective with Hollywood movies, which could give the movie a huge leg up. Advance sales in China total $22 million according to Variety.

A report from Deadline lists a prediction of $525 million in opening weekend box office worldwide. The report said the movie will be released on 52,000 screens worldwide, making it the biggest release ever for Disney. The estimates listed from Deadline sees $175 million domestically and $350 million in international markets.

Related Link: Wakanda Forever! Black Panther Sequel Sets November Box Office Record, Could It Help Give Disney Shares A Boost In Week Ahead?

Stocks to Watch: A strong box office showing from “Avatar: The Way of Water” could benefit movie theater stocks like Imax, AMC Entertainment Holdings AMC, Cinemark Holdings CNK and Dolby Laboratories DLB.

Dolby has helped convert theaters to be able to show 2D and 3D showings, bringing a big benefit to movie theater owners. The company could see demand from movie theater companies with strong showings for the Avatar sequel. 

Deadline reported that 74% of presale tickets were for 3D showtimes for Imax and other theater offerings.

And AMC CEO Adam Aron cited several AMC theaters nearing sell-outs thanks to strong word of mouth on Twitter.

The movie is expected to have multiple showings starting Thursday night and a long run could benefit theaters as people flock to see the movie perhaps more than once. The benefit for theater owners could come with 3D and Imax showings also coming with a higher ticket price.

But Disney could be the biggest winner from the box office success of “Avatar: The Way of Water” and the impact could be had for years to come. The studio spent billions to acquire 21st Century Fox and has been waiting years for the sequels to come out.

Along with the success of the movie on the big screens, Disney can win with consumer products licensing of the Avatar brand and its theme parks, which introduced a Pandora land area in the Animal Kingdom park years ago.

Cameron is planning to release three sequels to the 2009 hit movie. A successful sequel could point to high hopes for Disney with future movie releases.

Variety points out that there's not a ton of competition in the form of blockbuster movies for the next couple of months, which may help “Avatar: The Way of Water” enjoy a lengthy boost similar to the original movie.

Disney has some of the biggest hit movies of 2022 and has a 2023 lineup that includes several Marvel movies, a fifth Indiana Jones movie, “The Little Mermaid” and “Haunted Mansion.” A week longs success of “Avatar: The Way of Water” running into 2023 could help Disney dominate the box office in the next calendar year.

Read Next: Disney Q4 Earnings Highlights: Revenue And EPS Miss, Disney+ Hits 164.2 Million Subscribers And More

Photo via Avatar.com

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: EntertainmentNewsSmall CapTop StoriesTrading IdeasGeneral3DAvatarAvatar 2Avatar: The Way of WaterJames Cameronmedia stocksmovie stocksmovie theater stocksmovie theaters
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!

Loading...