In recent days, the big-budget aquatic sequel has passed “Avengers: Age of Ultron” ($1.403 billion) and “Frozen II” ($1.45 billion) in global ticket sales. It’s now aiming to crash spots eight through 11, which belong to “The Lion King” ($1.66 billion), “The Avengers” ($1.518 billion) and “Furious 7” ($1.515 billion) and “Top Gun: Maverick” ($1.49 billion).
But ideally, the mega-budgeted “The Way of Water” will eventually land among the top five movies of all time, which have each grossed at least $2 billion. If “Avatar 2” manages to reach the $2 billion club, Cameron will be responsible for three of the six-highest grossing movies in history, including “Avatar” ($2.9 billion), which is still the biggest movie ever, and “Titanic” ($2.2 billion). The rest of the chart is comprised of “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.7 billion), “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($2.06 billion) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($2.04 billion).
The second “Avatar” installment is expected to dethrone “Top Gun: Maverick” on Wednesday. By passing Tom Cruise’s latest tentpole, “The Way of Water will rank as the highest-grossing movie released in 2022, as well as the second-biggest global release of the pandemic era following “Spider-Man: No Way Home” ($1.9 billion).
It’s also the first movie since “No Way Home” (and only movie released in 2022) to top $1 billion at the international box office. It currently stands as the ninth-highest grossing overseas release ever, taking down “The Fate of the Furious” ($1.01 billion) and “Jurassic World” ($1.018 billion). In individual markets, “The Way of Water” has enjoyed the strongest turnout in China ($165.5 million), followed by France ($95 million), Korea ($77.2 million) and Germany ($73.4 million).
At the domestic box office, “The Way of Water” recently overtook “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ($440 million) as last year’s second-highest grossing release with $457 million.
Disney, which holds the rights to “Avatar” after acquiring 20th Century Fox in 2019, spent roughly $350 million to make “The Way of Water” and at least $100 million to market the film. With those staggeringly high price tags, analysts estimate the threshold to profitability is just under $1.5 billion, meaning the sci-fi sequel has officially hit its breakeven point. So, get ready for more visits to Pandora.
Thanks to “Avatar: The Way of Water” and several Marvel blockbusters, Disney ended the year with $2 billion in North America, $2.9 billion overseas and $4.9 billion worldwide to stand as the No. 1 studio at the domestic, international and global box office in 2022. It’s the seventh consecutive year the studio has ranked as the top-earner in terms of worldwide ticket sales.