BOX OFFICE: Here comes the flood — “Avatar: The Way of Water” washes up a $134 million opening weekend?

Opening on over 4200 screens, upsold as a 3D movie “event,” James Cameron’s latest march to box office dominance began with a whopping $17 million in Thursday night showings.

Load that into the $53 million “opening day” (plus previews) , and “Avatar: The Way of Water” is on track to meet the many box office forecasts that suggested that even in a not-really-post-pandemic box office, it’d blow up to $150 million by midnight Sunday.

As Deadline.com points out, it could fall short of that, or just short, if Saturday doesn’t add $55-70 million to the coffers. But it almost certainly could and should. As low as $130, when earliest projections were as high as $175.

As it turned out, it hit much closer to the bottom end, $134

It’s simply stunning to behold, if a bit creaky and repetitive in its endless combat beats and returning villainy.

That 3D ticket (one third of the nation’s screens are so-equipped) is well worth the extra cash, and even a MiniMax version of IMAX screen should get the total immersion job done. Expect it to blow up “Max” numbers achieved by “Top Gun,” no sweat.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” finally surrenders all the biggest screens, gives up the top spot at the box office and will finally drop below double-figures in box office take after being out close to two months. A $6 million weekend could push it over $420 million by end of biz Sunday.

“Violent Night” is adding over $5 million. “Strange World” continues to sell poorly, even though it’s the only big animated picture for families with small children out there. Save your money, Mom. Get Netflix and screen “Pinocchio.”

The tony, high-minded thriller “The Menu” is still a top five hit, and will be well north of $30 million by Sunday.

I’ll be updating this all weekend as the cash rolls in and Disney/20th Century brags about it.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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