James Cameron has said that Avatar: The Way of Water was so expensive to make that it would need to become one of the biggest films in history to even turn a profit.

So far, so good.

The long-awaited sequel to Avatar defied naysayers who claimed the original — which remains the highest-grossing film in history — left behind no cultural impact has now grossed $1 billion worldwide in just 12 days of release.

It is one of only three films to do so in 2022. The others were sequels as well: Top Gun: Maverick ($1.48 billion) and Jurassic World: Dominion ($1.001 billion). It has already outgrossed several of the other biggest hits of the year, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($955 million), Minions: The Rise of Gru ($939 million), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($801 million), The Batman ($770 million) and Thor: Love and Thunder ($760 million).

20th Century Studios

Even with $1 billion in worldwide grosses, The Way of Water has only achieved a fraction of the success of Avatar. After multiple re-releases, Cameron’s 2009 film has grossed $2.92 billion worldwide —more than Avengers: Endgame ($2.79 billion) and Cameron’s own Titanic ($2.2 billion).

The Way of Water’s continued success will be crucial to the future of the franchise. Cameron has plans to make at least three — and possibly as many as five — additional sequels. Disney has committed to making Avatar 3, which Cameron has already shot, but if these two films aren’t enormous hits, the rest of the projects could fall by the wayside.

At this point, The Way of Water is performing well, even despite terrible weather all over the country throughout the Christmas holiday. But time will tell just how long Cameron gets to spend on Pandora in the future.

What to Know Before Avatar: The Way of Water

Get ready for Avatar: The Way of Water with this refresher on the first film.
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