Isla Nublar has nothing on Pandora. James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water” has grossed $1.708 billion globally, overtaking “Jurassic World” ($1.67 billion) as the seventh-highest grossing movie in box office history.
After only four weeks of release, “The Way of Water” has generated $517 million in North America and $1.19 billion overseas. At the international box office, it’s now the fifth-highest movie, behind only “Avatar,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”
Based on its worldwide ticket sales, “Avatar: The Way of Water” also stands as the highest-grossing movie released in 2022, as well as the second-biggest movie of the pandemic era, following 2021’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ($1.91 billion). But the Na’vi have their sights set on taking down Peter Parker, whose latest adventure ranks as the sixth highest-grossing global release of all-time.
At this rate, “Avatar 2” has a real shot at crossing $2 billion worldwide — a nearly impossible benchmark in COVID times. Even “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a runaway box office sensation, fell just shy of that particular milestone. The superhero sequel didn’t play in China, which is a major market for Marvel movies.
It’s a lofty goal with or without the pandemic, to be sure. The only five movies in history to surpass the $2 billion mark are “Avatar” ($2.9 billion), “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.79 billion), “Titanic” ($2.2 billion), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.069 billion) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($2.04 billion). For anyone keeping score, Cameron has directed two of those five movies.
The long-delayed sequel to 2009’s “Avatar” has remained a huge theatrical draw since opening in mid-December with $134 million in North America and $435 million globally. That’s good news because Disney, which holds the rights to “Avatar” after acquiring 20th Century Fox in 2019, spent at least $350 million to make “The Way of Water” and more than $100 million more to market the grand return to Pandora. With those stratospheric figures, “The Way of Water” requires much more than the average tentpole to break even. Plus, Cameron is already planning to make three more sequels.