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Avatar: The Way of Water projected to debut at the box office with $150M-$170M

13 years after the original Avatar hit theaters, en route to a record-breaking box office performance, the long-awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water is looking to make a big splash in theaters.

The original Avatar didn’t have a monstrous opening weekend, opening in mid-December 2009 to $77 million… though it ultimately grossed a then-record $749.7 million domestic and a still-record $2.7 billion (which has since grown to $785.2 million domestic and $2.9 billion global with re-releases).

The highly-anticipated sequel from director James Cameron is expected to at least double the original Avatar’s opening weekend, with a projected opening weekend between $150 million and $170 million, via The Hollywood Reporter.

Box office: 13 years after the original Avatar hit theaters, en route to a record-breaking box office performance, the long-awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water is looking to make a big splash in theaters

Big debut: The highly-anticipated sequel from director James Cameron is expected to at least double the original Avatar's opening weekend, with a projected opening weekend between $150 million and $170 million, via The Hollywood Reporter

Big debut: The highly-anticipated sequel from director James Cameron is expected to at least double the original Avatar’s opening weekend, with a projected opening weekend between $150 million and $170 million, via The Hollywood Reporter 

Some box office analysts are even predicting that Avatar: The Way of Water could be just the fourth December release to cross the $200 million opening weekend threshhold.

The only three films to accomplish that feat were Marvel’s 2021 blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home and two of the three Star Wars sequels – 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($248 million) and 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($220 million).

Disney also announced on Tuesday that they have secured a Chinese release date on December 16, the same day it hits theaters in North America and many other foreign territories. 

Bigger: Some box office analysts are even predicting that Avatar: The Way of Water could be just the fourth December release to cross the $200 million opening weekend threshhold

Bigger: Some box office analysts are even predicting that Avatar: The Way of Water could be just the fourth December release to cross the $200 million opening weekend threshhold

Chinese release: Disney also announced on Tuesday that they have secured a Chinese release date on December 16, the same day it hits theaters in North America and many other foreign territories

Chinese release: Disney also announced on Tuesday that they have secured a Chinese release date on December 16, the same day it hits theaters in North America and many other foreign territories

The original Avatar’s road to box office history was an unusual one, with most top-grossing films accomplishing this with top-loaded massive opening weekends.

Back in 2009, the opening weekend box office record was held by The Dark Knight, which opened to $158.4 million in mid-July 2008, topping out at $533.3 million domestic and just over $1 billion worldwide.

Avatar’s success was largely due to consistent viewings at a level rarely seen at the box office, which allowed it to maintain the top spot for eight weeks in a row.

Original Avatar: The original Avatar's road to box office history was an unusual one, with most top-grossing films accomplishing this with top-loaded massive opening weekends

Original Avatar: The original Avatar’s road to box office history was an unusual one, with most top-grossing films accomplishing this with top-loaded massive opening weekends

Big hit: Avatar's success was largely due to consistent viewings at a level rarely seen at the box office, which allowed it to maintain the top spot for eight weeks in a row

Big hit: Avatar’s success was largely due to consistent viewings at a level rarely seen at the box office, which allowed it to maintain the top spot for eight weeks in a row

While most films drop off 50% or more in its second weekend and beyond, Avatar dropped just 1.8% in its second weekend and 9.4% in its third weekend, never dropping more than 50% until its 16th weekend of its 34-week run.

Whether or not Avatar: The Way of Water can replicate this type of success remains to be seen, though one thing is for certain: it won’t have much competition.

Avatar: The Way of Water is the only film opening in wide release on December 16, with only a handful of other wide releases arriving the last few weeks of December.

Competition: Whether or not Avatar: The Way of Water can replicate this type of success remains to be seen, though one thing is for certain: it won't have much competition

Competition: Whether or not Avatar: The Way of Water can replicate this type of success remains to be seen, though one thing is for certain: it won’t have much competition

Wide release: Avatar: The Way of Water is the only film opening in wide release on December 16, with only a handful of other wide releases arriving the last few weeks of December

Wide release: Avatar: The Way of Water is the only film opening in wide release on December 16, with only a handful of other wide releases arriving the last few weeks of December

The only movies arriving in wide release in December are Universal’s animated sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Paramount’s Babylon, Tristar’s biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody and United Artists’ Women Talking.

Avatar: The Way of Water brings fans back to the magical world of Pandora, where former Marine Jake Sully has made a new life and family with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).

Stephen Lang returns as Miles Quaritch with new cast members including Kate Winslet, Giovani Ribisi, Jemaine Clement and more. 

Only: The only movies arriving in wide release in December are Universal's animated sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Paramount's Babylon, Tristar's biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody and United Artists' Women Talking

Only: The only movies arriving in wide release in December are Universal’s animated sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Paramount’s Babylon, Tristar’s biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody and United Artists’ Women Talking

Pandora: Avatar: The Way of Water brings fans back to the magical world of Pandora, where former Marine Jake Sully has made a new life and family with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana)

Pandora: Avatar: The Way of Water brings fans back to the magical world of Pandora, where former Marine Jake Sully has made a new life and family with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana)

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk