James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” is on its way to beating its earlier projections before the new year. After officially raking in $1 billion at the global box office, many are questioning whether Cameron will gain back the money and time that was spent on it.
Earlier this week, analysts had projected that the Avatar sequel would surpass $1 billion less than two weeks after its release. It went on to do just that on Tuesday, which blew the one-month record that “Top Gun: Maverick‘” had out of the water.
Many speculate that Cameron’s newest blockbuster will eventually surpass the $1.48 billion that the “Top Gun” sequel produced. Even if it does, it still needs more than that to create profit for 20th Century Studios.
With its predecessor becoming the first film to gross $2.9 billion at the box office, the goal seems reachable. However, Cameron himself admitted to GQ Magazine that breaking even would be a hard feat to accomplish. When asked how hard it would be to stay in the green, Cameron said:
…you’d have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.
Despite those odds, the 68-year-old filmmaker says that he’s “attracted to difficult” in the interview and seems to believe in his work’s success.
The sequel still has a long way to go before reaching its $2 billion target. Still, some argue that the movie’s streaming capabilities will help it gain momentum. Since Disney bought the rights to 20th Century Fox, it is likely that the company will showcase “Way of Water” on its streaming platform, Disney+. That being said, streaming numbers might end up boosting the overall sales the movie makes.
Other sources have also concluded that the $2 billion projection could be for more than just “Avatar: Way of Water.” Collider writes that parts of the third installment of the Avatar franchise are being shot during the sequel’s filming process. This could mean that the money they make is more of an investment for the next films than a test of “breaking even.” A writer at Collider argued:
…one cannot be sure whether Cameron accounted for the production cost for the two other sequels that he plans to release in the coming years when he made the statement about Way of Water‘s box-office target.
Future Avatar Projects
After news leaked about Avatar 3 already starting production, Cameron took to Twitter to announce his plans for the Avatar franchise:
James Cameron already has plans for #Avatar 6 and 7, should there be demand for them.
'AVATAR 3' has wrapped filming and production of 'AVATAR 4', which has already shot ⅓ of the film, is currently underway in New Zealand.
— One Take News 🎄 (@OneTakeNews) November 30, 2022
This information doesn’t confirm that the movies are releasing soon as next year. However, Cameron tells Hollywood News that the stories for the movies do exist and are well-planned:
They exist. These stories exist. We know exactly what we’re doing. We know what these movies are gonna be. We just have to go through the process of getting them done.
The Long Wait
Cameron also noted that the sequels need space between them to keep the audience attentive throughout the years. Empire Magazine asked the aging director if he felt bad about the time he will spend on finishing the Avatar series. He responded by saying:
The first is that the world of Avatar is so sprawling that I can tell most of the stories I want to tell within it and try many of the stylistic techniques that I hope to explore. And secondly, yes… our time as artists is finite. I will always mourn some of the stories that I don’t get to make.
Either way, the funding for these movies is still under question. Fans and critics alike are waiting for “Way of Water” to hit $2 billion in the hopes that more movies are yet to come.
Written by Ogechi Onyewuchi
Edited by Sheena Robertson
GameRant.com: Avatar: The Way Of Water Is Well On Track To Bring Down Top Gun: Maverick, by Raul Vasquez
Fortune.com: Avatar: The Way of Water hits $1 billion in global ticket sales in just two weeks—but it needs to make even more at the box office to break even, by Thomas Buckley and Bloomberg
Variety News: Box Office: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Set to Overtake ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ as Year’s Highest-Grossing International Release, by Brent Lang
Koimoi.com: Avatar 3, 4 & 5 Won’t Release Immediately Just Because They Are Already On Track, James Cameron Chose To Break Hearts Today
Deadline News: James Cameron: “I Will Always Mourn Some Of The Stories That I Don’t Get To Make” Because of ‘Avatar’ Commitment, by Bruce Haring
Collider.com: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’s Box Office Is Big, But Is It Big Enough? by Shreejit Nair
GQ India: The return of James Cameron, box office king, by Zach Baron
Featured Image and Second Inset Image Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson’s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson‘s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License
Third Inset Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore‘s Flickr Page- Creative Commons License