Director James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is cruising along at the global box office, having met virtually every expectation that it could have. With $2.116 billion worldwide, The Way of Water recently overtook Star Wars: The Force Awakens to become the fourth-biggest movie of all time.
The Way of Water has grossed $620.5 million domestically, and another $1.496 billion from overseas territories. On the all-time global list, it is currently trailing only Titanic ($2.2 billion), Avengers: Endgame (2.79 billion), and the first Avatar ($2.89 billion). Cameron is now responsible for three of the top four highest-grossing movies in history, further cementing his reputation as the king of the box office.
The Way of Water’s success also validates his ambitious vision for the franchise, and his unparalleled ability to attract audiences to the big screen. This is especially remarkable because the industry has observed a shift in audience viewing patterns in recent years, due largely to the streaming boom. In the weeks and months leading up to release, there were concerns about the franchise’s cultural relevance, and Cameron himself had implied that he was uncertain if there still was a market for these science-fiction movies.
He famously said that The Way of Water would need to ultimately finish as the third or fourth-biggest film of all time to break even, although a Variety report later pegged the break-even point to be in the $1.5 billion range. The Way of Water, which was released over a decade after the first film’s blockbuster success, is estimated to have cost more than $400 million to produce, making it one of the most expensive movies of all time. The film was recently nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Having surpassed his own lofty targets, Cameron is now expected to finish post-production on the third film, which has been slated for a December 2024 release. He had previously announced his intention to direct a fourth and fifth film, with the possibility of two more, depending on audience interest.
Set a decade after the events of the first movie, The Way of Water takes Jake Sully and his family to unexplored new aquatic corners of Pandora, as they’re confronted by a familiar old threat, in a new “avatar.” The Way of Water features returning stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver, and Dileep Rao, alongside newcomers Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Britain Dalton, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Jack Champion, and Jemaine Clement.
While The Way of Water is expected to soon overtake Titanic at the global box office, it’s unlikely that it will come close to matching the first film’s performance. That being said, The Way of Water is the biggest movie of 2022, the biggest movie of the pandemic and post-pandemic eras, and only the sixth film in history to make more than $2 billion worldwide. Its biggest international territories are China ($240 million), France ($130 million), Germany ($116 million), South Korea ($100 million), and the U.K. ($83 million).
You can watch our interview with producer Jon Landau here.[via]