‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Floats Atop U.K. Box Office

Avatar: The Way of Water” stayed atop the U.K. and Ireland box office with £4.1 million ($5.1 million) in its fifth weekend for a running total of £63.5 million, according to numbers from Comscore.

Universal’s “M3gan” and Disney’s “Empire of Light” opened strongly in second and third places with £2.3 million and £1.7 million respectively.

In fourth position, in its third weekend, Sony’s “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody” continued its impressive box office run with £1.1 million and now has a total of £8.2 million. Another Sony title, “Matilda the Musical,” collected £857,293 in its fifth weekend for a total of £25 million, in fifth place.

There were three more debuts in the top 10. Ahimsa’s Tamil-language “Varisu,” starring Vijay, took £648,230 in seventh place; Universal’s awards season favorite “Tár,” starring Cate Blanchett, collected £394,649 in eighth position; and DG tech’s Tamil-language “Thunivu,” starring Ajith Kumar, £273,277 in ninth.

There is a mid-week release this week, Sony’s anime title “That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime The Movie: Scarlet Bond” that releases on Wednesday.

The wide release this upcoming weekend is Damien Chazelle’s history of Hollywood epic “Babylon,” starring Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li and Jean Smart, which Paramount is opening across more than 300 locations. The film underperformed in the U.S., grossing $14 million to date, but the combination of Pitt and Robbie might prove to be potent at the U.K. and Ireland box office.

The weekend sees several other releases. MUBI is giving a limited release to Ali Abbasi’s “Holy Spider,” for which won Zar Amir-Ebrahimi won best actress at Cannes last year. Sovereign is opening “The Substitute,” for which Renata Lerman won best supporting performance at San Sebastián last year.

Dogwoof is bowing Maya Duverdier and Amílie Van Elmbt’s Berinale and DocAviv selected documentary “Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel,” while Lionsgate is opening Toronto selected thriller “Alice, Darling,” starring Anna Kendrick.

Speciality distributor Trinity CineAsia’s Lunar New Year release is “Everything Under Control,” while DocHouse is opening DocEdge winner “Nascondino (Hide and Seek)” and Modern Films is bowing Cannes title “More Than Ever,” which was the last film of the late Gaspard Ulliel.

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