Avatar: The Way of Water has set a new record earning $1.52 billion—becoming the highest-grossing film of 2022.
- As the film enters its fourth weekend, the sequel to 2009’s Avatar continues to outperform its competition and set new records, currently sitting at the tenth highest-grossing film of all time after less than a month.
- A January 3 report suggested the film had finally reached profitability. As of January 5, the film surpassed Top Gun: Maverick’s box office haul of $1.48 billion.
- This is good news for its producers. Avatar: The Way of Water is one of the most expensive films ever made. It was developed over 13 years, and its budget exceeds $460 million, in addition to the cost of advertising.
- Disney considered the film needing to make $1.4 billion in order to be successful, while director James Cameron previously suggested the film would fail if it didn’t gross $2 billion.
Why It’s Important
Avatar: The Way of Water continues to break records, despite an initially warm domestic box office reception. Strong word of mouth and global returns are pushing the film close to crossing the $2 billion mark, becoming the sixth film in history to do that alongside Avatar, Titanic, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
As we previously reported, the film broke records by grossing its first $1 billion in just 12 days.
As Fortune notes, the success is vindicating for James Cameron and Disney, who are currently scheduled to release Avatar sequels every other year through 2028. Fears of the film’s initially lukewarm opening weekend caused Disney stock to drop 4%.
“I really suspect there is a large lump of consumers out there who were just trying to make it to Christmas before taking their family out to go see it,” says Bloomberg analyst Kevin Near.
Regardless of the billion-dollar risks, the company is already forging ahead with sequels. The third film has already been filmed and scheduled for release in December 2024, and as many as four sequels are planned afterward.
“You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.” says James Cameron.