“Avatar: Way of Water” topped the domestic box office for the seventh straight weekend with an additional $15.7 million, according to makers estimates Sunday.
Overall, it was a quiet weekend, largely due to Hindi blockbuster “Pathaan” breaking into the top five, as well as Oscar-nominated re-releases such as “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “The Fabelmans.”
Avatar 2’s No. 1 in North America is second only to the first Avatar, and was beaten by Titanic for the past 25 years (it held the No. 1 spot for 15 weeks). All three films were directed by James Cameron.
Worldwide, “Ways of Water” has now grossed an estimated $2.1 billion, surpassing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time (of which Cameron directed three) .
In second place was Universal Pictures and DreamWorks’ family-oriented “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” which made $10.6 million in its sixth weekend. The cartoon has grossed more than $140.8 million in North America and was recently available domestically as well.
In third place was Sony’s “A Man Called Otto,” with $6.8 million from 3,957 locations. “Pathaan,” the first Indian film in five years, starring Shah Rukh Kha, came in fourth.
Universal Pictures’ spreadable meme horror “M3GAN” broke into the top five with $6.4 million in its fourth weekend, bringing its domestic total to $82.3 million.
Neon also debuted at 1,853 locations in the horror film “Infinity Pool,” written and directed by Brendan Cronenberg, starring Mia Goss and Alexander Skarsgard, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival . The romantic comedy “Maybe I Do,” starring Diane Keaton, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandan, earned $562,000 on 465 screens. Lukas Dhont’s Cannes Prize-winning childhood drama Closer opened to $68,143 on four screens in New York and Los Angeles.
Many studios with Best Picture nominations also chose to capitalize on Tuesday’s rush of Oscar nominations by re-releasing a slew of titles. Returning to theaters with 11 leading nominations, “All at the Same Time,” grossed another $1 million on 1,400 screens. To date, A24 has grossed $71 million domestically. Steven Spielberg’s seven Academy Award-nominated The Fabelmans also expanded to 1,962 screens in North America and grossed an additional $760,000, bringing its domestic total to 1,600. Ten thousand U.S. dollars. And Sarah Polley’s “Talking Woman” added a few hundred screens, earning $1 million over the weekend. It has made $2.4 million to date. Oscar boosting is also likely to continue over the next few weeks — the show isn’t until March 12.
Some of the weekend’s biggest hits were star-driven comedies going straight to streaming: Netflix has ‘You People,’ Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonah Hill and Lauren London and Amazon Prime Video offer “Shotgun Wedding,” with Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Coolidge.
With “Avatar 2” in theaters for seven weekends, theater owners may also be looking for the next blockbuster, which is still a long way off. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Fever won’t hit theaters until February 17.
Follow Associated Press Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.