January 28, 2023

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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is a $1 billion hit worldwide

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“Avatar: The Way of Water” crossed $1 billion at the worldwide box office in just 14 days, becoming the fastest movie this year to cross the coveted box office milestone.

In total, only three films released in 2022 managed to surpass the billion-dollar mark, a short list that includes “Top Gun: Maverick” (which took 31 days to clear the benchmark) and “Jurassic World Domination” (which (takes time) four months to join the club). By comparison, nine movies released in 2019 exceeded $1 billion worldwide. “The Way of Water” is the fastest mark since 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which took 12 days. Only six movies in history have exceeded $1 billion in their first two weeks of release.

The long-delayed sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar” opened in mid-December with $134 million in North America and $435 million worldwide, and has remained a huge draw in the days since its release. So far, Disney and the 20th century film has earned $317.1 million in North America and $712.7 million overseas, bringing its global total to $1.025 billion. It surpassed “Jurassic World Domination” as the second-highest-grossing film of the year and is the third-highest of the Pandemic era.

“Avatar 2” looks set to go strong in the new year, which is necessary to justify its huge price tag. Cameron estimates that the $350 million-budgeted movie (not including at least $100 million in marketing fees) should generate roughly $2 billion, though analysts believe the profit threshold is likely closer to $1.5 billion. “The Way of Water” has a lot going for it, not just because of its hefty price tag, but also because it’s the first of three planned follow-ups to Cameron’s otherworldly series.

The original “Avatar” was released in 2009 and stands as the highest-grossing release in history with $2.97 billion worldwide. The follow-up film, which hit the big screen 13 years later, will struggle to come close to those heights as the global box office has not fully recovered from the pandemic. Moreover, China, a major theatrical market, is experiencing a resurgence of the virus and Russia, another major region, will not have access to the film.

“Avatar” stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver return for the sequel, which follows the Sully family as they go underwater to battle the elements and keep Na’vi safe from humans. Other cast members include Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Edie Falco and Jemaine Clement.

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