It sounds ridiculous to think that Avatar: The Way of Water was being labeled as a flop after its first weekend in theaters, because we’ve learned better than to doubt James Cameron, with the filmmaker once again pointing and laughing directly in the face of his doubters.
Not only has the sci-fi sequel been tearing it up at the box office both at home and abroad, but it sailed past the billion-dollar threshold in less than two weeks, becoming one of the fastest movies ever to do so. Not only that, but it’s already surpassed Top Gun: Maverick as 2022’s highest-grossing overseas release, and it ain’t done yet by a long shot.
The latest estimates have The Way of Water hauling in anywhere between $87 million and $92 million across the four-day New Year’s weekend, with projections coming in at roughly $68 million from Friday to Sunday. That means Cameron’s return to Pandora will increase its takings compared to last week, a quite frankly astonishing feat in the current blockbuster marketplace.
A global tally of $1.5 billion is looking like the absolute bare minimum given the way repeat business has audiences flocking back to the theater to see Avatar 2 multiple times, and with no direct big budget competition on the horizon until the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania lands on on February 17, we’d be foolish to rule out $2 billion.
If that does happen, then only six features in the history of cinema will have reached that number, and Cameron will have directed half of them. That’s utterly insane, and it’s clear that the voracious appetite for all things Avatar remains as strong as it did 13 years ago.