us actress zoe saldana arrives premiere of avatar of water hollywood california december 12 2022

‘Avatar’ remains atop the North American box office on a rainy weekend

With an estimated $90 million in gross, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ blew away the competition even as a huge storm kept millions at home over the four-day Christmas weekend, The Observer said Monday of the Exhibitor Relations sector.

James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel has now earned 20th Century $287.7 million domestically, making it the fifth highest-grossing film of 2022.

But while analysts said they beat expectations on a storm-depressed weekend, three new releases delivered much more modest returns.

Universal’s family film “Puss in Boots: The Death Wish,” a computer-animated spin-off of the “Shrek” franchise, grossed $17.5 million Friday through Monday.

Sony’s biopic “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody” grossed just $6.8 million. English actress Naomi Ackie plays the late superstar.

And the comedy-drama “Babylon,” directed by Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle, opened with just $5.3 million despite a cast that included Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. Variety.com called it an “particularly terrible start”.

But Franchise Entertainment Research’s David A. Gross suggested the over-the-top epic can expect a boost “if it garners big-award nominations,” as many expect.

Fifth place for the long, cold weekend went to “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” at $5.3 million. Its national total is now $428 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“Violent Night” ($4.3 million)

“The Whale” ($1.5 million)

“The Menu” ($1 million)

“The Fabelmans” ($900,000)

“Strange World” ($675,000)