Just a few days after a huge Christmas weekend, Avatar: The Way of Water became the latest James Cameron movie to score over $1 billion at the box office. And the mega-blockbuster, which was released on Dec. 16 in the United States, made $434 million globally in its opening weekend, with $134 million of that coming from the domestic box office. Now, after a couple more holiday weekends under its belt, The Way of Water has reached more than $2 billion at the global box office. This means the sequel’s only got less than a billion more dollars to go until it reaches its predecessor's record. Expect Avatar 3 on schedule.
The Way of Water’s opening weekend was a huge improvement on the relatively slow debut of the original film, which brought in only $77 million in the United States back in December 2009. Despite that figure, Avatar climbed to the top of the all-time box office standings thanks to 3D upcharges and an impressive ability to keep audiences coming back to Pandora week after week.
So far, Avatar: The Way of Water has managed a similar staying power to its predecessor, despite starting out with a way bigger first-weekend haul. The movie is still quite a ways off of Avatar’s approximately $2.9 billion dollar total — which it only earned after a few re-releases over the last 13 years. But with five weeks of strong returns, which means plenty of repeat customers, approaching Avatar’s record isn’t completely out of the question for the sequel.
Of course, if anyone can do it it would be Cameron, who now has three movies that have gone above $2 billion at the box office — Way of the Water joins Titanic and the original Avatar in that impressive club.
While the movie continues its impressive run, it’s also swimming by the competition on the all-time top box office list. The latest movie to get left in the dust is Spider-Man: No Way Home, which The Way of Water replaced as the sixth-highest-grossing movie of all time.
So far, The Way of Water appears to be mirroring its predecessor’s success. This staying power is perhaps even more impressive than it was more than a decade ago for the original, with fewer people going to the theater in general, but it’s also a great sign for the future of the Avatar franchise.