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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Sails to $1.89 Billion Globally, Nearing ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ on All-Time Box Office Charts

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, Jake Sully (voice: Sam Worthington), 2022. © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar: The Way of Water” is close to overtaking another box office behemoth, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” on the all-time charts.

As of Sunday, “The Way of Water” has grossed $1.893 billion globally, standing as the seventh-highest grossing movie in history. With those ticket sales, Disney and 20th Century’s futuristic sequel is roughly $22 million away from beating Sony’s latest Spidey adventure and its mighty $1.91 billion global haul. “Avatar 2” should cross that threshold to become the sixth-biggest movie ever in the coming days.

By way of ticket sales, “The Way of Water” has generated $563 million in North America and $1.3 billion internationally after five weeks of release. It’s the 13th highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office, passing “The Lion King” ($543.6 million), “The Dark Knight” ($535 million) and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” ($533.5 million). Overseas, the movie ranks as the fifth-highest grossing release ever, behind only the original “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Yet, it’s tantalizingly close to dethroning “Infinity War,” which remains in fourth place with $1.370 billion.

Outside of North America, the top-grossing territories include China ($211.8 million), France ($120.5 million), Germany ($106.9 million) and Korea ($92.7 million). Not every market is re-connecting with the Na’vi. The follow-up isn’t playing in Russia, where the original grossed $116 million, and it’s floundering in Japan with $26 million, a huge drop from the first film, which generated $176 million in the country.

At this pace, “Avatar 2” is close to crossing $2 billion worldwide, a nearly impossible benchmark in COVID times. Even “No Way Home” fell just shy of that particular milestone; the superhero sequel didn’t play in China, which is a major market for Marvel movies. Only five movies in history — “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avengers: Infinity War” — have surpassed $2 billion. When “The Way of Water” joins the club, Cameron will have directed three of the six biggest movies of all time.

The long-delayed sequel to 2009’s “Avatar” has thrived in theaters since opening in December with $134 million in North America and $435 million globally. It cost roughly $460 million to make and market, resulting in one of the most expensive films ever.