“Avatar: The Way of Water” notched a major box office milestone, crossing $550 million in global ticket sales. But the $350 million-budgeted film has ways to go to break even and achieve profitability in its theatrical run.
Lucky for director James Cameron and Disney, which holds the rights to “Avatar” after acquiring 20th Century Fox in 2019, the sci-fi sequel is already staying strong at the box office. In just five days, it became one of eight films this year to cross the half-billion mark worldwide. And by the new year, tentpole is aiming to hit the $1 billion mark.
On Tuesday, “Avatar: The Way of Water” added a solid $18.3 million domestically and $40.5 million internationally. So far, it’s generated $168.6 million domestically and $387.3 million internationally to date, taking its global tally to $555.9 million.
Because of pandemic-related obstacles, especially at the international box office, “The Way of Water” won’t come close to reaching the heights of its predecessor, which is the highest-grossing movie in history. The original film, which was released in 2009, grossed a staggering $760 million in North America and $2.92 billion globally.
But the holiday season should be rewarding. Over the upcoming weekend, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is projected to decline 40% to 50% from its $134 million debut, which would put ticket sales around $67 million to $80 million. It’s also expected to keep pulling in big numbers during the week leading up to Christmas, which falls on Sunday. Although three major movies — director Damien Chazelle’s glitzy showbiz epic “Babylon,” Universal’s animated “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and Sony’s Whitney Houston biopic “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — will open on Friday, none of them will come close to dethroning “Avatar 2” for the top spot on domestic charts.
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver returned for “The Way of Water,” which clocks in at three hours and 12 minutes and follows the Sully family underwater as they battle the elements on Pandora to stay alive and keep each other safe. The long-delayed movie arrived to positive reviews, with Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman writing “Cameron, a four-decade veteran of bravura action logistics, has lost none of his mojo.”