Just a few months after release, Avatar: The Way of Water has joined its predecessor in the pantheon of box office giants, becoming the third highest grossing movie of all time. The movie secured the spot in February when it passed $2.433 billion at the box office so far. The Avatar sequel kicked Titanic out of the top three, despite its recent re-release, meaning that director James Cameron has once again passed himself on the list, without losing his status of directing two of the three highest earners ever. Good thing Avatar 3 is already on the schedule.
The Way of Water’s opening weekend was a huge improvement on the relatively slow debut of the original film, which brought in only $77 million in the United States back in December 2009. Despite that figure, Avatar climbed to the top of the all-time box office standings thanks to 3D upcharges and an impressive ability to keep audiences coming back to Pandora week after week.
So far, Avatar: The Way of Water has managed a similar staying power to its predecessor, despite starting out with a way bigger first-weekend haul. The movie is still quite a ways off of Avatar’s approximately $2.9 billion dollar total — which it only earned after a few re-releases over the last 13 years. But, nearly three months in, it’s still not clear if Way of Water will manage to surpass its predecessor’s record.
Of course, if anyone can do it it would be Cameron, who now has three movies that have gone above $2 billion at the box office — Way of the Water joins Titanic and the original Avatar in that impressive club.
So far, The Way of Water appears to be mirroring its predecessor’s success. This staying power is perhaps even more impressive than it was more than a decade ago for the original, with fewer people going to the theater in general, but it’s also a great sign for the future of the Avatar franchise.