This weekend, moviegoers stepped into the enchanting world of Pandora to help James Cameron reign supreme at the cinema.
Avatar: The Way of Water was a smashing success with his astonishing $435 million opening weekend box office worldwide. The film grossed him a staggering $134 million domestically and internationally a staggering $301 million per Comscore.
Sci-fi epics have been breaking box office records during the pandemic, and this latest release is no exception, snagging the third place.
Spider-Man: No Way Home recently set a global debut record with $600 million in sales, but he soon rivaled Doctor Strange in his Multiverse of Madness, which grossed a staggering $442 million.
When Avatar premiered in 2009, it quickly made history.
The film’s debut was nothing short of extraordinary, playing in over 3,400 theaters across the United States and Canada. It grossed a staggering $77 million opening weekend, making it the box office champion for seven weeks before reaching astronomical heights of nearly $3 billion worldwide.
At 3 hours and 12 minutes long, it’s unclear whether the sequel will be as popular as its predecessor. Will audiences be able to withstand such a long game twice? Only time will tell.
World of Water
Cameron insisted on a three-hour film and was met with considerable opposition from everyone due to the long running time. Nevertheless, he felt morally obligated to stick to his long-term vision.
“Because it’s a complicated linear narrative, which is the worst scenario for trying to shorten, you’ve got a complex story servicing a lot of characters, and it’s like dominos falling: This has to happen for that to happen,” he stated.
“You’re not following a bunch of parallel plot lines in a way that you could take a lot out.”
Cameron is sure that viewers will stay captivated, ensuring an enriching experience for all.
“Equally important with length is pace — and the order of information and the engagement factor. As long as people are engaged, you’re good to go,” the director added.
“I feel like we managed to jump through all those hoops,” he said. “People seem pretty engaged.”
Meanwhile, after six weeks at the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever continues its unstoppable reign, now earning a whopping $418 million. Last weekend alone saw an extra injection of cash to the tune of $5.4 million – that’s sure to leave fans in awe as this superhero sequel goes from strength to strength.
Additionally, Violent Night had a smashing debut as it entered the box office in third place with an impressive $5 million and took home nearly $34 million overall.
Completing the top five were Strange World, which earned over $5 million more to bring its total close to $34 million, followed by The Menu’s additional $2.2 and $1.7 million, respectively, power-punching them up to $33 million and $32 million.
Stephen Lang had it easier than his Avatar: The Way of Water castmates.
Many stars flopped around in the depths, but not Lang – his character stayed mostly dry on set. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana were just a couple from an impressive lineup of talent that included Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet – all of whom plunged into the water.
“If he is in the water, he’d really like to get out of the water,” Lang said in an interview with EW of Col. Quaritch. “He’s never in there by choice, whereas there are many characters in this film who are water creatures. That’s where they exist.”
Cameron employed an innovative technique to capture the stunning underwater sequences of Avatar – performance capture. To ensure a truly authentic film, the cast underwent intensive training in free diving; no scuba gear was used.
With years of breath-holding experience, Cameron has explored the depths of ocean life as a free diver.
Lang proved to be a master at whatever challenge Quartich threw his way. She delivered the task with impressive skill and finesse.
“I did fine,” he stated modestly. “I can hold my breath in a static hold for probably five or six minutes. When I’m working, I can do a minute, minute and a half underwater when Jim says action, so I get the work done.”
The cast went on an adventure to learn the art of freediving from Kirk Krack, a renowned international master and explorer in incredible submarine territories.
Winslet’s remarkable skill on The Way of Water set made headlines as her ability to hold her breath for an astonishing seven minutes impressed the cast and crew.
“I think anything to do with water, it’s 10 times harder, whether you’re under it or whether you’re being drowned, sinking in it,” Worthington stated.
“The real challenge on this one was trying to preserve your character while you’re doing these things in water, because you could quite easily get caught up in your own head, which then takes you out of the scene, which takes you into your own fears, and then you’re not doing your job.”
Weaver, the ray of sunshine on set playing Jake and Neytiri’s adopted daughter Kiri, was always punctual, arriving to work with a 30-minute head start.
Training with her husband, Jim Simpson, in Krack breathing techniques soon became an essential point of focus for Weaver as she brought life and authenticity into her performance.
This technique of deep breathing allows you to take control of your heart rate before plunging into great depths, just as the film’s characters describe.
Avatar: The Way of Water is currently premiering in theaters.