After a huge turnout on Christmas, “Avatar: The Way of Water” surpassed another major box office milestone with $955.1 million in global ticket sales.
On Monday, James Cameron’s long-delayed sequel generated a huge $31.5 million domestically and $52.2 million internationally, bringing its respective totals to $293 million in North America and $661 million overseas.
In just two weeks, “The Way of Water” has already passed the global box office tallies of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” ($800 million), “The Batman” ($770 million), “Thor: Love and Thunder” ($760 million) and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” ($939 million). It’s currently tied with “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” ($955.7 million globally) as the third-highest grossing movie of the year.
And the “Avatar” sequel is expected to continue its domination in the coming week, even as harsh winter weather in the United States and rising cases of COVID, RSV and the flu across the globe have curbed ticket sales. In the next few days, Disney and 20th Century’s $350 million-budgeted tentpole “The Way of Water” will hit the $1 billion mark. It’s a threshold that only two other movies, “Top Gun: Maverick” ($1.48 billion) and “Jurassic World Dominion” ($1.001 billion), have managed to hit in 2022.
“Avatar 2” needs to keep beating expectations with outsized ticket sales to justify its massive price tag. Cameron estimated the movie needs to generate roughly $2 billion to break even, though analysts believe the threshold to profitability is probably closer to $1.5 billion.
Even though “Avatar: The Way of Water” is proving to be another powerful big-screen draw, the follow-up film will struggle to reach the towering heights of its predecessor, which is the highest-grossing release in history with $2.97 billion worldwide. That’s because the worldwide box office hasn’t fully rebounded from the pandemic, and important markets like China are experiencing a resurgence of the virus. Moreover, the sequel won’t be playing in Russia, where the original made over $100 million.
Outside of North America, “Avatar 2” has enjoyed the strongest turnout in China with $104 million, followed by France with $60 million, Korea with $55.4 million, Germany with $41.5 million and India with $39.2 million.
Like the original, “The Way of Water” is especially popular in Imax. It’s already crossed $105.5 million globally on Imax screens, marking the company’s fastest pandemic-era film to cross that benchmark. To date, Imax has accounted for 11.4% of the film’s global gross.
“’Avatar: The Way of Water’ is showing the strong endurance at the global box office we expected,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of Imax. “In just over a week of release, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ has sailed to more than $100 million in Imax box office with no signs of slowing down.”