Avatar: The Way of Water has become only the sixth film in history to cross the $2 billion mark at the worldwide box office, not adjusted for inflation. The film’s performance is a huge victory for director James Cameron, who is the only filmmaker to have directed three films to reach the milestone.
Disney announced Sunday that the big-budget sequel will end the weekend with a worldwide total of $2.024 billion, the best showing of the pandemic era. He has earned $598 million domestically and $1.426 billion overseas, including a hefty $230 million from China.
The first Avatar, released 13 years ago, remains the top-grossing film of all time with $2.9 billion in global ticket sales, including re-releases. Cameron’s titanic is also part of the club ($2.19 billion). In terms of other top global earners, Avengers: Endgame ranks No. 2 behind the first Avatar ($2.79 billion).
The Way of Water is just days away from overtaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.07 billion and Avengers: Infinity War ($2.05 billion) to rank No. 4 on the list of all-time grossing movies.
When promoting The Way of Water, Cameron indicated it would ultimately need to earn in the $2 billion range to be considered a smash success. The sequel cost Disney and 20th Century north of $400 million to produce before marketing.
Cameron’s film has been a bright spot for the box office since unfurling in mid-December and has remained at the top of the chart. Over the Jan. 20-22 frame — its sixth weekend in release — the tentpole easily came in at No. 1 domestically with $19.7 million domestically. Thanks in large part to Avatar2revenue so far for 2023 is up more than 63 percent from the same period in 2022.
Other holdovers doing solid business include Puss in Boots: The Last Wishadult drama A Man Called Otto and sci-fi horror pic M3GAN. New mystery thriller Missing placed No. 5 behind the trio of films with a respectable launch of $9.3 million, thanks to younger female adults.
The other new movie opening nationwide on Jan. 20-22 weekend was anime pic That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime the Movie: Scarlet Bondwhich took in a muted $1.5 million.