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Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” has emerged as the highest Hollywood grosser of all time in India, beating the record set in 2019 by stablemate “Avengers: Endgame.”

James Cameron’s return to Pandora is still in Indian cinemas and has a running total of INR4.6 billion ($56.6 million), beating the Russo brothers’ Marvel epic that concluded its run in the country with INR4.3 billion ($53.6 million), according to numbers provided to Variety by Disney.

Its mostly a Disney show in the all time Hollywood top 10 in India with “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) in third place, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021) in fourth, “The Jungle Book” (2016) in fifth, “The Lion King” (2019) in sixth, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (2022) in eighth and “Avatar” (2009) in ninth. The only two films that are not part of the Disney behemoth are Universal’s “Furious 7” in seventh position and “Jurassic World” (2015) in 10th.

“The phenomenal response in India to James Cameron’s unparalleled creative vision is testimony to how cultural, geographical and language barriers blur when it comes to pathbreaking storytelling and an immersive cinematic experience. Audiences have eagerly waited for the sequel and they have been emotionally invested in the story. The first ‘Avatar’ did exceptionally well in India and we definitely expected ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ to set newer box office benchmarks, but witnessing the extraordinary response of audiences across the country has been remarkable,” Bikram Duggal, head, studios, Disney Star India, told Variety.

In India’s all time box office top 10, including Indian films, there are only two Hollywood titles – “Avatar: The Way of Water” in eighth position and “Avengers: Endgame” at 10th. If “Avatar 2” continues its current trajectory, it will soon cross Rajkumar Hirani’s seventh placed “PK” (2014), starring Aamir Khan, which has a total of INR4.7 billion.

Hollywood big ticket product, especially franchises, superhero films and creature features, are given wide releases in India and are dubbed into a plethora of local languages. In pre-pandemic 2019, they accounted for 15% of the box office and fell back to its average of 11% in 2021, per the annual EY Indian industry report.

The market is growing. As former Disney head Siddharth Roy Kapur told Variety in a recent interview, this is because of “all the effort that both Disney as well as other studios put in to making sure that we were marketing these movies to a very wide mainstream audience.”

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