Avatar 2 overtakes Top Gun: Maverick as highest grossing release of 2022

After just three weeks at the box office Avatar: The Way of Water has topped $1.5 billion worldwide, becoming the ninth highest-grossing film of all time.


If you're a movie buff, you might know who James Cameron. He's the brains who's behind a handful of top-grossing movies of the years 1997, 2009, and now, 2022.

avatar way century
Despite a slow start, Avatar: The Way of Water became the best selling movie of 2022 in record time

The follow-up to 2009’s Avatar, which is the highest-grossing movie of all time, managed to claim the title despite a slow start. Three weeks was all Avatar: The Way of Water needed as it officially racked up $1.5 billion worldwide on January 4. In doing so, Avatar 2 became last year's highest-grossing film. This number just cleared Maverick's $1.489 billion, which had a little over seven months to gain the advantage. The sequel not being screened in Russian cinemas certainly hampered their numbers, considering the original Avatar netted over $120 million in that market.

Domestically in the United States, the numbers paint a different story. Top Gun: Maverick is still at the top with $718 million generated in domestic cinemas. As of Wednesday, Avatar: The Way of Water sits in second place with just $454 million. To put this in perspective, the $260 million difference in revenue generated is how much The Amazing Spider-Man racked up. And that's mostly due to the fact that Avatar has never been just a domestic franchise.

The original film, which generated over $3 billion in revenue worldwide, racked up a hugely impressive $785 million domestically. This made it the fourth most profitable movie of all time in the United States, but it more than tripled its revenue on the international stage. So it’s no surprise its sequel outgrossed Maverick, a movie embodying American culture, in the other parts of the world.

Making last-second adjustments to please the Chinese government and having it permitted in Chinese cinemas certainly played a huge role.

way of water crewWhat’s surprising is how fast it did it and in what manner. Avatar 2 has only been in theaters for just three weeks. With no major blockbuster competition until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases on February 17, it probably has weeks and maybe month's worth of cinema screenings to up those numbers.

We’re looking at a true box office juggernaut despite a massive opening weekend that still missed projections, and reviews varying from both ends of the spectrum. But that’s exactly what needs to happen for the movie to break even, considering the massive budget it took up to get made.

With these numbers in mind, Avatar: The Way of Water is already in the ninth place at the global box office. With the 2019 Lion King at $1.66 billion holding down the eighth spot and the number seven Jurassic World at $1.67 billion, the Avatar sequel has a real chance of beating them by the end of January. With James Cameron having two of the top five most successful movies of humankind, and a third approaching rapidly, it's no wonder there are plans for more Avatar movies.

With five Avatar movies planned for the franchise and the script for the fourth already being discussed, fans will have a lot more to look forward to.


Scott Kostov

A passion for writing and gaming has propelled Scott down the path of content creation. When he isn't scouring every known source on the internet for information, he's a track addict vibing to music in the countryside of sunny Macedonia. Link up with Scott on Twitter and Steam.
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