Continued robust international sales pushes the “Avatar: The Way of Water” to $2.024 billion worldwide, which was aided in part by a dearth of formidable challengers.

Filmmakers Jon Landau (L) and James Cameron (R) speak onstage at the handprints and footprints ceremony honouring
Filmmakers Jon Landau (L) and James Cameron (R) speak onstage at the handprints and footprints ceremony honouring "Avatar: The Way Of The Water" at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. (AFP)

James Cameron's “Avatar: The Way of Water” has led ticket sales in movie theatres for the sixth straight weekend, making it the first film to have such a sustained reign atop the box office since 2009's “Avatar."

The Walt Disney Co.’s “The Way of Water” added $19.7 million in US and Canadian theatres over the weekend, according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Its global total has now surpassed $2 billion, putting it sixth all-time and just ahead of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Domestically, “The Way of Water” is up to $598 million. 

A year ago, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” also topped the box office for six weekends, but did it over the course of seven weeks.

You have to go back to Cameron's original “Avatar” to find a movie that stayed No. 1 for such a long span. ("Avatar" ultimately topped out at seven weeks.) 

Before that, the only film in the past 25 years to manage the feat was another Cameron film; “Titanic” (1997) went undefeated for 15 weeks.

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Box-office domination

“The Way of Water” has now reached a target that Cameron himself set for the very expensive sequel. Ahead of its release, Cameron said becoming “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” was “your break even."

The box-office domination for “The Way of Water” has been aided, in part, by a dearth of formidable challengers. 

The only new wide release from a major studio on the weekend was the thriller “Missing," from Sony's Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films. 

A low-budget sequel to 2018's “Searching," starring Storm Reid as a teenager seeking her missing mother, “Missing” plays out across computer screens. The film, budgeted at $7 million, debuted with $9.3 million.

January is typically a slow period in theatres, but a handful of strong-performing holdovers have helped prop up sales.

Though it didn't open hugely in December, Universal Pictures' “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” has had long legs as one of the only family options in theatres over the last month. 

In its fifth week, it came in second place with $11.5 million domestically and $17.8 million overseas. The “Puss in Boots" sequel has grossed $297.5 million globally.

In addition, the creepy doll horror hit “M3gan,” also from Universal, has continued to pull in moviegoers. It notched $9.8 million in its third week, bringing its domestic haul to $73.3 million.

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Source: AP