January 31, 2023

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The Avatar sequel hit $1.7 billion, the seventh-highest-grossing film

2 min read

Isla Nublar has nothing on Pandora. James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water” grossed $1.708 billion worldwide, surpassing “Jurassic World” ($1.67 billion) as the seventh-highest-grossing movie in box office history.

Just four weeks after its release, “The Way of Water” has grossed $517 million in North America and $1.19 billion overseas. At the international box office, it is now the fifth-highest grossing movie, trailing only “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Based on its worldwide ticket sales, “Avatar: The Way of Water” stands as the highest-grossing film released in 2022, as well as the second-biggest film of the pandemic era after 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” at $1.91 billion). But Na’Vira has set its sights on dethroning Peter Parker, whose latest adventure ranks as the sixth highest-grossing global release of all time.

At this rate, “Avatar 2” has a realistic shot at crossing $2 billion worldwide, an almost impossible benchmark in the time of Covid. Even “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a runaway box office sensation, fell shy of that particular milestone because the superhero sequel didn’t open in China, a major market for Marvel movies. That’s a lofty goal, with or without a pandemic, to be sure. The only five movies in history to cross the $2 billion mark are “Avatar” ($2.9 billion), “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.79 billion), “Titanic” ($2.2 billion), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.069) billion) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($2.04 billion). For anyone keeping score, Cameron directed three of those six movies.

The long-delayed sequel to 2009’s “Avatar” has remained a huge theater draw since opening in mid-December with $134 million in North America and $435 million worldwide. That’s good news because Disney, which owns the rights to “Avatar” after acquiring 20th Century Fox in 2019, spent at least $350 million to make “Avatar” and more than $100 million to market the grand return to Pandora. With these stratospheric figures, it takes a lot more than the average tentacle to break the “water path.” Also, Cameron is already planning to make three more sequels.

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