20th Century Studios’ “Avatar: The Way of Water” has officially grossed over $1 billion at the global box office, continuing a torrid pace that will likely see it soon join its 2009 predecessor among the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.
Disney/20th Century reported that James Cameron’s blockbuster sequel added $74.6 million on Tuesday, with $23.8 million coming from domestic theaters. That domestic total is an 24% increase from the $18.2 million grossed on the film’s first Tuesday, showing how well the film is legging out over the holiday period.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is the fourth film since the pandemic began to cross the $1 billion mark, joining fellow sequels “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” and “Jurassic World: Dominion.” It also hit the mark after 12 days in domestic theaters, the same amount of time as “No Way Home” and faster than “Maverick” or “Dominion.”
Late last week, it was looking like it would take at least a few more days of theatrical play for “Avatar 2” to reach this point. The winter storms gripping much of North America had worsened domestic grosses in the days leading up to Christmas, causing weekend estimates to drop from $95 million to as low as $81 million.
But after “Avatar 2” beat expectations with a $29.5 million Christmas Day domestic total, it ended up meeting those original $95 million estimates and has now passed $300 million in domestic grosses as of Tuesday. While COVID-19 surges have denied the film an equally large windfall in China, overseas grosses remain robust, particularly in Korea and France, where admissions remain strong in the film’s second week and totals in France have exceeded $68 million.
With almost no competition from rival films with the possible exception of the Universal/DreamWorks’ family film “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” “Avatar: The Way of Water” is in position to continue legging out through January. At its current pace, it is a virtual lock to pass $1.5 billion globally sometime next month. When it does, it will join the top 10 all-time box office list before inflation adjustment and pass “Top Gun: Maverick” as the highest grossing release of 2022.