James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel Avatar: the way of the water makes box office history on Sunday (with a chance to hit the magic number on Saturday) as it hits $2 billion, a number most pundits and movie fans seemed to doubt it could surpass when the film first premiered five weeks ago opened to $435 million in worldwide receipts.
Every weekend the avatar sequels have climbed the charts, challenged naysayers time and time again to reach new unexpected thresholds, and faster than expected to boot. At every step, many journalists and pundits – as well as numerous cinephiles and online film communities – suggested that the odds were slim that the film would make much more than $1 billion, or $1.5 billion, or $1.8 billion, or $2 billion. would reach depending on what number it already shattered by then.
Indeed, after the early slower-than-expected debut weekend, I was one of those who started suggesting The way of the water may not have the momentum to push it much beyond $1.8 billion, despite my initial early predictions that it would cross $2 billion.
But on Tuesday of this week, Avatar: the way of the water had been surpassed Spider-Man: No Way Homes Over $1.9 billion cume for the #6 spot on the all-time highest-grossing box office list. Which made it inevitable that the movie would hit $2 billion this weekend.
Avatar: the way of the water will also surpass $1.5 billion at the international box office, as well as surpassing $600 million domestically within days.
Only five movies in history have ever grossed more than $2 billion, and all but one have been released in the last 13 years – avatar (2009) with $2.899 billion, Avengers: endgame (2019) with $2.794 billion, Titanic (1997) with $2.2 billion, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) with $2.06 billion, and Avengers: Infinite War (2018) with $2.048 billion.
Of the 50 movies that have grossed $1 billion or more at the box office, only three were released before 2006 — Titanic, Jurassic Park (1993) with $1.045 billion, and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) with $1.027 billion.
It is not yet clear whether The way of the water will gross enough by the end of the weekend to rise to fifth place on the list of highest-grossing films in history, a position currently held by Avengers: Infinite War with $2.048 billion. But it’s only a matter of time before that happens, and then it’s also within shooting range of the $2.064 billion it needs to beat to take the No. 4 spot where Star Wars: The Force Awakens currently resides.
As I’ve said before, it gets harder for that from there Avatar: the way of the water to move up the all-time charts, because Titanic ranks #3 with $2.19 billion and will significantly boost that amount when it returns to theaters in February to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its own historic box office release and sweep at the Oscars. Titanic arrives in 4K HDR 3D, and should bring in somewhere between $2.25 and $2.3+ billion by the end of this re-release.
To take the third position in the box office charts, Avatar: the way of the water must end its remarkable run at the top end of most estimates at this point. It’s certainly doable, and it’s going to be a tough match between Cameron’s twin titans for that #3 slot. But regardless, Cameron clearly still wins, having three of the four highest-grossing films in history.
I don’t see a realistic scenario where Avatar: the way of the water challenges for second on the all-time list ever since Avengers: endgame must feel very comfortable with its $2.79+ billion. That’s a lot of cushion protecting his seat.
However, I suspect we will eventually see one avatar2 re-release sooner Avatar 3s release – and even a “special edition” reissue of it The way of the water including some new scenes we haven’t seen before, all of which have a chance to boost The way of the water ever closer Endgame #2 spot.
On this point, Avatar: the way of the water should easily pass $2.1 billion and make a run for at least $2.2+ billion and maybe $2.3 billion, with $2.4+ billion at the high end of the likely outcomes. But even saying that, I have to remind myself that this movie exceeds expectations and defies expectations every day, so we can’t rule out a $2.5 billion finish. Unlikely, maybe, but impossible? Never bet against James Cameron.
I will keep you informed Avatar: The way of the water record-breaking and expectation-defying footrace, dear readers, so check back here for more news soon. And pay attention to my coverage Ant-Man and the Waspand continued coverage from Marvel Studios Black Panther: Wakanda Forever getting a recently announced release in China that could put it on track for a possible $1 billion finish after all – read more about that situation here in my latest report on it.
And if you’re among the eager crowd heading to theaters this weekend to see Avatar: The Way of Water or any other movie, don’t forget to wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well around you who may be immune. -compromised or otherwise at greater risk of serious health outcomes or death from Covid or even from the flu. The pandemic is not over yet, dear readers, and right now it is erupting with a new, more dangerous variant, so be careful and hide!