It’s undeniable that the stakes were sky-high for Avatar: The Way of Water given the cultural and box office heights attained by its predecessor. After a lengthy 13-year wait, the James Cameron epic finally hit theaters just a week before Christmas and it has already made a splash of its own.
The sci-fi motion picture depicted a stunning shift of scenery into Pandora’s underwater universe and has now taken the lead over Tom Cruise‘s Top Gun: Maverick — which grossed an impressive $1.49 billion at the global box office. Since then, Avatar: The Way of Water has performed swimmingly in its own right. The movie raked in $454 million domestically and confidently surpassed $1 billion internationally on Wednesday, thus bringing its global total to a breathtaking $1.51 billion, edging its way to the highest-grossing film of 2022, per The Hollywood Reporter. Adding to the list of accolades, Avatar: The Way of Water is now the tenth top-grossing film of all time, an impressive feat. At present, the film is just shy of its predicted gross range, which suggests the film will take between $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion globally.
Although a remarkable accomplishment, widespread reports suggest the break-even mark for the venture sits at around $1.4 billion which means it has just about crossed that line. Cameron even made a point of proclaiming the project “f–king expensive,” adding that it would need to become the “third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” to be profitable. Unsurprisingly, the film is still a way behind the groundbreaking 2009 original. In addition to reaching new heights never before seen in film with unseen graphics and technological advancement, it cemented its place in history forever as the first film ever to accumulate $2.9 billion at the lifetime box office.
But more than financials are riding on Avatar: The Way of Water‘s wave, namely, the future of the Avatar universe. Whilst a slate of sequels are already in the works, all the way up to a fifth installment, the prolific director has been clear that their reality is dependent on the audience’s reception to Avatar 2. If things do go as planned, there are exciting times ahead for the other movies, with a potential trip to Earth for Neyirtri (Zoe Saldaña) on the cards in Avatar 5. Whether or not Cameron‘s subsequent dreams for Pandora will come to fruition will be revealed with time.
Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters now.