Avatar: The Way of Water has become only the sixth film in history to cross the $2 billion mark at the worldwide box office.
The movie’s performance is a huge victory for director James Cameron, who is the only filmmaker to have directed three films achieving the milestone.
Disney announced Sunday that the big-budget sequel will finish the weekend with a worldwide total of $2.024 billion, the best showing of the pandemic era. It has earned $598 million domestically and $1.426 billion overseas, including a hefty $230 million from China.
The first Avatar, released 13 years ago, remains the top-grossing film of all time with $2.9 billion in global ticket sales, including rereleases. Cameron’s Titanic is also part of the club ($2.19 billion). In terms of other top global earners, Avengers: Endgame ranks No. 2 behind the first Avatar ($2.79 billion).
The Way of Water is just days away from overtaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.07 billion and Avengers: Infinity War ($2.05 billion) to rank No. 4 on the list of all-time grossing movies.
When promoting The Way of Water, Cameron indicated it would ultimately need to earn in the $2 billion range to be considered a smash success. The sequel cost Disney and 20th Century north of $400 million to produce before marketing.
Cameron’s film has been a bright spot for the box office since unfurling in mid-December and has remained at the top of the chart. Over the January 20-22 frame — its sixth weekend in release — the tentpole easily came in No. 1 domestically with $19.7 million domestically. Thanks in large part to Avatar 2, revenue so far for 2023 is up more than 63 percent from the same period in 2022.