Avatar: The Way of Water made $1bn (£831m) at the box office around the world in just 14 days, making it the fastest movie this year to reach that mark.
Even though reviews were all over the place, the long-awaited sequel was a hit with audiences. It is one of only three movies this year, along with Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World: Dominion, to make more than $1 billion.
But James Cameron, who directed the movie, has said that it needs to make $2 billion just to break even. The movie picks up after the events of Avatar, which is the highest-grossing movie of all time with $2.97 billion (£2.47 billion) at the box office.
Analysts say it’s unlikely that the new movie will make more than that since movie theatre attendance is still down since the pandemic.
But based on how well the movie is doing so far, it is likely to be bigger than Top Gun: Maverick and be the most popular movie of 2022. Some critics called The Way of Water a “lumbering, humorless damp squib of a movie” in which “nothing meaningful happens” and “the story is pretty stupid.”
The first Avatar was basically a science-fiction version of the story of Pocahontas. It told the story of greedy colonialists who stole the resources of a faraway planet called Pandora. It was told through the eyes of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a human soldier who fell in love with a native warrior named Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and came to understand how important Pandora’s ecosystem is.
In the sequel, which takes place years later, Sully and Neytiri go underwater to protect their planet from another human invasion while trying to raise a family.
- James Cameron Has Already Shot Scenes From Avatar 3 And 4
- ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Heads For $17M+ Tuesday
Sequels not set in stone
It has a lot riding on how well it does at the box office because it is the first of four planned sequels. The next three will come out in 2024, 2026, and 2028.
Cameron shot the third movie at the same time as The Way of Water and “a little bit” of the fourth to ensure his child actors still looked the right age.
“I love Stranger Things, but you get the Stranger Things effect, where they’re supposed to be in high school but look like they’re 27,” he said.
In Avatar 4, the child actors “age six years in the middle of the story on page 25,” he said. “So I needed to shoot everything before then, and we’ll do everything after that later.”
The director, who has also worked on Terminator, Titanic, and The Abyss, has said that his plans will depend on how well the movies do at the box office.
“The market could tell us we’re done in three months, or we might be halfway done, which would mean, ‘Okay, let’s finish the story in movie three and not keep going forever,'” he told Total Film magazine.
— 20th Century Studios (@20thcentury) December 27, 2022
“Even the world itself has changed since I wrote these things. The pandemic and streaming are like a one-two punch. Or, on the other hand, maybe we’ll remind people why they should go to the theatre. This movie does that for sure.”
The Way of Water is not only the most popular movie in the world, but it is also the most popular movie in the UK. In its first two weeks, it made £25.03 million.
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Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.