Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed more than $1 billion less than two weeks after it premiered, setting a record.
- The sequel to 2009’s Avatar has taken 13 years to reach theaters and cost between $350 million to $460 million to make.
- Avatar: The Way of Water opened in the U.S. on December 16 and received a “softer than expected” domestic opening weekend gross of $134 million, resulting in Disney’s stocks dropping 4%, CNBC reports.
- The movie has persistently drawn international audiences and set a record for this year, reaching $1 billion global gross on Tuesday, December 27—12 days after it premiered.
- Top Gun: Maverick, the current highest-grossing film of 2022 with $1.49 billion, took 31 days to cross the $1 billion line. Jurassic World Dominion took four months.
- The previous Avatar film is the highest-grossing film of all time, grossing $2.97 billion.
- Adjusted for inflation though, Gone With The Wind remains the highest-grossing film ever, with an equivalent of $3.44 billion.
Why it’s News
Director James Cameron, who previously made The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Aliens, and Titanic, has dedicated the past two decades trying to realize his vision for a multi-part Avatar franchise. He has already shot footage for a third movie that will be released in December 2024, and he has promised as many as four additional sequels if both of his concurrent sequels make a profit.
The project has been a significant financial risk for himself and his distributors at Disney, who stand to lose billions of dollars if the films can’t draw back the multi-billion dollar audiences that made the first film into a runaway success. The sluggish domestic reaction to the film has been assisted by global demand and strong word of mouth.
“This makes it a front-runner for one of the highest-grossing movies of the year and solidifies its place as a blockbuster hit … According to James Cameron, a whopping $2 billion take will be required to break even. However, experts believe that this figure may be significantly lower (about $1.5 billion). Given the film’s impressive box office performance so far, achieving or possibly surpassing these milestones is looking increasingly achievable,” says MovieWeb.
James Cameron is 68 years old and plans to continue directing movies into his late 80s, saying he has at least six more movies in him that he wants to make.
“We’re in a different world now than when I wrote this stuff, even. It’s the one-two punch—the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is how many people [care] now?” says Cameron.