After just six weeks on the big screens, Avatar: The Way of Water has crossed another major box office milestone. Over the weekend, James Cameron’s latest masterpiece became just the sixth movie of all time to fetch $2 billion in global ticket sales.
The most successful filmmaker of all time is now responsible for three of the six movies with the highest box office revenue generated, or over $7 billion. But more importantly, this milestone covers the lofty spread that Cameron himself attributed to the highly anticipated sequel. Calling it the ”worst business case” and claiming the movie needed to generate at least $2 billion to break even, put a lot of pressure on the project before its first cinema projection.
The movie started out much slower than anticipated, despite a record-breaking opening weekend. When news spread that Russian cinemas will screen pirated versions and the studio wouldn’t get a dime out of it, analysts started worrying. But, lucky for them, the project would be shown in China. Avatar 2 then bounced back in style, grossing $1 billion in the first 14 days and beating out Top Gun: Maverick for the title of the highest-grossing release of 2022.
Now, with the break-even point secured, the question is how further can Avatar: The Way of Water climb on the all-time list.
Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which are fifth and fourth on this list, will surely fall in the following days. With $2.04 billion and $2.07 billion grossed respectively, they stand no chance in Avatar’s meteoric rise. The next big target will be the Titanic, another James Cameron masterpiece, racking up $2.19 billion during its time on the big screen. The gap then widens as Avengers: Endgame stands tall in second place with $2.79 billion while the original 2009 Avatar movie remains the biggest box office success with $2.9 billion generated in ticket sales.
So far, Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed over $600 million in domestic box office revenue, but the key to the series' success has always been the international audience.
With $1.4 billion earned internationally, it’s the first title to gross over that benchmark since Covid began. China is the main contributor to Avatar's success with a $229 box office followed by France at $129 million then Germany with $117 million. Considering that Russia isn’t part of the equation, where the original grossed a massive $119 million in 2009, and the flop at the Japanese box office with $28 million, the team behind Avatar: The Way of Water should be pleased.