Pre-Christmas Box Office: ‘Avatar 2’ Crossing $200M U.S. Today, ‘Puss In Boots 2’ At $6M+, ‘I Wanna Dance’ Starts Previews As Winter Weather Impacts Ticket Sales

We’re hearing that bad weather in the Midwest significantly impacted Thursday grosses with Winter Storm Elliott intensifying into a bomb cyclone. As of this morning, more than 1 million customers are without power across the country, around 4K flights cancelled and wind chill in the -20 to -30 degree as the country gets hammered by severe winter conditions.

Avatar: The Way of Water was up only 1% from Wednesday with $14.5M for a week’s total of $197.5M at 4,202 theaters, 4% behind the first week of Top Gun: Maverick which, natch, was boosted by it Memorial Day Monday. Global is at $661.4M for the 20th Century Studios/Disney release.

Today in its 8th day at the box office, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water will cross $200M. Other films that have taken that long to cross the double century mark stateside include Captain Marvel (final gross $426.8M), Jurassic World: Dominion (final $376M) and Thor: Love and Thunder (final $343.2M).

Christmas weekend will be wonky at the box office with Christmas Eve falling on Saturday. Not only is that a down day at the box office, with most movies off -45% to -55% from the day prior, but there’s 11 NFL games alone on Saturday.

Universal/Dreamworks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish made $2.9M in its second day, -9%, for a two-day total of $6.1M at 4,099 theaters.

Tri-Star/Black Label’s Whitney Houston biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody minted $730K from 3,093 locations off previews that began at 2PM yesterday. While no official comps are being given, that preview cash isn’t that far from the $800K that West Side Story made on its Thursday night off showtimes that began at 5PM ($10.5M 3-day) and its just under what Universal’s all-femme title Sisters did on its Thursday night back in Dec. 17, 2015 ($769K) which resulted in a $13.9M opening. I Wanna Dance With Somebody is expected to open to around $12M over four days at 3,550 locations.

Third place Thursday went to Disney/Marvel Studio’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at 3,200 sites with $906K, +1% from Wednesday and a running total at end of week 6 of $422.6M.

Fourth is Universal’s Violent Night at 3,528 theaters with $792K, -4% from Wednesday, and running domestic total of $38.4M at end of week 3. The genre action title is 137% ahead of Universal’s Black Christmas which finaled at $16.2M and $200K ahead of the studio’s 2015 holiday horror comedy Krampus at the same point in time which ultimately finaled its domestic box office at $42.7M.

A24’s The Whale ranked 5th at 603 theaters with $273K, -60% from Wednesday, and a running total through the end of week 2 of $1.55M.

No grosses reported this AM for Babylon‘s previews. The hope is that this Damien Chazelle directed movie, which Paramount has supported greatly as it earned five Golden Globe nominations, will be north of double digits over 4 days.

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