Avatar: The Way Of Water Will Surpass Top Gun: Maverick To Become 2022's Biggest Global Movie

The Way of Water continues to make a splash at the box office.


Avatar: The Way of Water is projected to surpass $1.5 billion in total at the box office today, January 4, eclipsing Top Gun: Maverick to become the biggest movie of 2022, according to Deadline.

For comparison, Top Gun: Maverick earned $1.489 billion during its theatrical run, which began in May 2022. The Way of Water was released on December 16 and continues to perform well at the box office, now stretching beyond its third weekend in cinemas and into 2023.

Top Gun: Maverick's box office results came entirely in the calendar year 2022, and while The Way of Water has earned the majority of its box office revenue in 2022, it continues to make more money in 2023. Like the original Avatar, The Way of Water is expected to have a long tail thanks in part to very positive audience scores, including an A rating from Cinema Score.

The Way of Water, when it hits $1.5 billion, will become No. 12 on the all-time charts for highest-grossing films in history. 2009's Avatar is the highest-grossing film ever, at $2.92 billion. Together, the two Avatar films have already earned more than $4 billion globally at the box office.

In North America, however, Top Gun: Maverick continues to hold the record for biggest 2022 movie with $718 million compared to $447 million for Avatar: The Way of Water.

Writer-director James Cameron has said The Way of Water needs to become among the most successful movies in history to get more sequels, and it looks like that is happening. Revenue from the box office is just one way that movies make money, with more cash coming from the eventual home video/streaming release, licensing deals (like the one for Ubisoft's new Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora video game), merchandise sales, and more.

Avatar 3 was filmed back-to-back with The Way of Water and is scheduled for release in December 2024. Whether or not the planned Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 get made remains to be seen, however, and if they do happen, Cameron may not direct them.

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