James Cameron has managed to earn a place in cinematic history. Again. The director's Avatar: The Way of Water has officially become the sixth film in history to gross more than $2 billion in global ticket sales.
Variety reports that Cameron's sequel has surpassed this milestone six weeks after it released while it joins an exclusive list of just five other movies. Others that have grossed more than two billion dollars include Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Titantic, and Avatar. Cameron was also responsible for those last two titles, which means the director has helmed half of the movies on the list.
It is noteworthy that Zoe Saldana, who plays Netiri in both Avatar films, has now been in four of the six movies that have grossed over $2 billion as she also appears in Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War as Gamora.
Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed a lot more than most films have but it also needs to since it is one of the most expensive movies ever made. In pre-release interviews Cameron said the sequel represented "the worst business case in movie history" as the film needed to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history just in order to make it into profit. An expensive production? "Very fucking", Cameron told GQ. According to Variety, Disney has spent around $460 million to produce and promote the Avatar sequel.
While Avatar: The Way of Water is the sixth highest-grossing movie, fourth and fifth place are not that far ahead. Avengers: Infinity War stands at $2.04 billion and fourth-placed Star Wars: The Force Awakens is on $2.07 billion. Having earned $2.02 billion at the global box office in only six weeks Cameron's sequel could well surpass them. But it remains to be seen if it can surpass Cameron's other record makers. His first Avatar remains the biggest movie of all time with $2.9 billion while Titanic held that distinction for two decades ($2.19 billion) until it was replaced by Avengers: Endgame, which is the second-highest grossing film ever with $2.79 billion.
James Cameron has gained a reputation for cutting-edge filmmaking and ambitious productions. Making his name with the innovative Terminator and its sequel, Aliens, and The Abyss, Cameron used practical effects, clever cinematography, and CGI when it was still emerging as a cinematic tool. Later, Titanic became a global phenomenon, known for its spectacular set pieces, huge budget, as well as its romantic storyline which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. When the original Avatar released in 2009 it set a new standard in 3D movies and helped propel it to box office success.
Its sequel The Way of Water has impressed analysts with its performance since it has managed to achieve such enormous ticket sales in pandemic times and isn't even showing in Russia, where the original grossed $116 million. It has also flopped in Japan earning just $28 million when the original brought in $176 million. However, the film has been a hit in China ($229 million), France ($129 million), Germany ($117 million), Korea ($96 million), and the UK ($81 million). In the United States, Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed $598 million.
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