Brie Larson defeats James Cameron after ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ fares worse at the box office than ‘Captain Marvel’

captain marvel
via Marvel Studios

One of James Cameron’s favorite things to do on the press circuit for Avatar: The Way of Water is to claim that he’s not setting out to immediately bash the Marvel Cinematic Universe… before immediately bashing the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yet, there’s conflicting emotions online after his long-awaited sequel fell short of the superhero franchise’s least popular movie.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel holds the weakest audience score out of any of the saga’s 30 features to date thanks to a measly 45 percent, less than half of Avatar 2‘s 94 percent user average. And yet, the polarizing origin story hauled in $455 million at the box office through its first three days in theaters, compared to The Way of Water‘s $441.6 million.

Obviously, the three-hour runtime and desire to catch the sci-fi spectacular in premium formats like HFR, IMAX, and 3D contributes to those numbers, but it hasn’t done anything to dissuade the doubters from labeling Cameron’s return to Pandora as a bomb already, which we’re fairly sure won’t turn out to be the case in the long run.

Cameron’s continued needling of the MCU is brought into ironically hilarious focus when a passion project he’s been working on for a decade and a half can’t exceed the earnings of the comic book adaptation fans definitively hate more than any other, but we’ve got the sneaking suspicion Avatar: The Way of Water will have more than enough in the tank to eventually blow past the $1.128 billion Captain Marvel managed to accrue before it ended its theatrical run.