Well, it’s only gone and bloody done it…but given the hype, perhaps there wasn't any doubt.
James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water has made movie history by crossing the $2 billion mark at the global box office, becoming the sixthhighest grossing movie of all time and the director’s third film to join the coveted 2 billion club. It’s also the first movie in pandemic times to cross the milestone.
Now, Cameron is responsible for three of the six-highest grossing movies of all time, and Zoe Saldaña, who plays Neytiri in the Avatar films, has now starred in four of the six films to cross $2 billion. She also appears in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in her role of Gamora.
The Disney produced film as also lead ticket sales in US cinemas for the sixth straight weekend, making it the first to have such a sustained reign atop the box office since 2009's Avatar.
The Way of Water arrived in theatres last December, 13 years after the original, and cost approximately $460 million to produce and promote, making it one of the most expensive films ever.
Its current worldwide earnings mean the film has already surpassed Spider-Man: No Way Home and starts closing in fast on Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
However impressive this record is, the second chapter in Cameron’s saga is unlikely to dethrone the first instalment, which earned worldwide box office earnings of $2.899 billion.
The third instalment is already in the can, and apparently features another Na’vi tribe centred around fire. So, first one about earth, second one focused on water… Cameron is predictably going through the elements and audiences seem to love it. Even if we don’t and don’t see movies as just their box office grosses.
For context, 50 films have passed the $1 billion benchmark, only 6 have hit $2 billion grosses and Avatar: The Way of Water knocks 2015’s Furious 7 off the Top 10 highest-grossing movies worldwide - which are:
1. Avatar (2009) - $2.899 billion – after its 2022 release bumped it up above the second entry, which for a while had surpassed it.
2. Avengers: Endgame (2019) - $2.794 billion
3. Titanic (1997) - $2.207 billion (not counting the millions it will doubtlessly make after its 4K HDR 3D rerelease this year.)
4. Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens - $2.069 billion
5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018) - $2.048 billion
6. Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) - $2.024 billion
7. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) -$1.910 billion
8. Jurassic World (2015) - $1.669 billion
9. The Lion King (2019) - $1.647 billion
10. The Avengers (2012) - $1.515 billion
The moral of the story is that despite the fact Cameron isn’t always the best storyteller (which is putting it mildly), never bet against him.
Avatar 3 is just around the corner in 2024 and there’s every reason to suspect that it too will do the kind of silly business as its predecessor.