Our Poll Makes Avatar 2’s Reported Box Office Numbers Look Suspicious

We polled our readers, and the low numbers of fans who have seen Avatar 2 make us question the box office numbers.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

avatar 2 box office

Avatar 2 looks to be on track to make the record-breaking box office earnings it needs to justify James Cameron‘s three planned big-budget follow-ups, but our polling shows something different. We asked our readers how many of them had seen Avatar: The Way of Water or were planning to see it in the theaters, and we found something surprising. Out of close to 1,700 respondents, only 21.2 percent said they had seen the film, which doesn’t match with similar numbers for Spider-Man: No Way Home even though both movies made comparable earnings; and keep in mind that our readership includes a much higher percentage of movie fans than your average random sample.

avatar 2 box office

It was on Wednesday, December 28, 12 days after Avatar 2‘s wide theatrical release, that Variety reported it had cracked the $1 billion box office mark globally. That’s only three days more than it took Spider-Man: No Way Home to make the same goal. And yet the percentage of our respondents who saw No Way Home in theaters (56.5 percent) is not only more than twice the percentage of those who have seen Avatar 2 (21.2 percent) but is a significantly higher percentage than those who say they either have seen it in the theater or plan to see it before it hits streaming (a total of 37.5 percent).

We can’t claim our poll proves anything definitive about the Avatar 2 box office numbers, but it does raise some questions. Remember that as a website focused on entertainment news, it’s safe to assume GIANT¬†FREAKIN¬†ROBOT‘s readership is made up of those who would be more likely than a random sampling to see movies in the theater. Yet, not only did a mere 21.2 percent of our respondents claim to have seen The Way of Water in the theater, a third — 33.8 percent — claimed they had no interest in seeing it in the theater or anywhere else.

Then there’s director James Cameron, who expressed so much doubt in Avatar 2‘s box office chances during its promotional lead-up that you’d think he was partly hoping Avatar 3 through 5 would get shelved so he could get more rest.

Avatar 2 ticket sales illustrated
Half-empty theater for an evening Avatar 2 showing

Why could Avatar 2‘s box office numbers be inaccurate? It’s no secret that Disney — which is on track to have its worst financial year since 1974 — is fighting a war of perception right now. After falling short of its revenue goals by a massive $1.5 billion, Disney gave the boot to Bob Chapek, and called back the old CEO Bob Iger to hopefully put things right.

To be fair, you could make the argument that our comparison between Avatar 2‘s box office numbers and Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s is unfair. No Way Home was being screened for months, so those readers who responded to our poll could have seen it at any time from December 2021 to the film’s departure from theaters in spring 2022. Meanwhile, our readers have only had less than two weeks to see The Way of Water.

We also have to point out the gap in respondents. While 1,684 respondents gave their answers for the Avatar 2 poll, only 695 responded to questions about Spider-Man: No Way Home.