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James Cameron’s Avatar gamble pays off as Way of Water becomes 10th biggest film of all time

It’s showing no signs of slowing, either

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 06 January 2023 10:05 GMT
Avatar: The Way of Water teaser trailer drops online

James Cameron’s Avatar gamble has paid off in an extremely big way following its latest box office feat.

The film, which was released on 16 December, is a follow-up to the 2009 original, which is the highest-grossing film of all time with a gross of $2.9bn (£2.45bn). This includes re-release sales.

Cameron has made no secret of the fact that he needed the film, titled Avatar: The Way of Water, to be a huge success – especially considering there are four sequels in the works.

While the director claimed that the film needed to become the fifth highest-grossing film of all time to break even, Variety reported that he was embellishing and that the release would begin to make a profit once it hit an international gross of $1.5bn (£1.264bn).

However, extraordinarily, this feat is not far off – after just 23 days, it has become the 10th biggest film of all time.

On Thursday (5 January), the film’s box office total sat at $1.516bn (£1.278bn).

With the latest profits added, the film has sailed past Top Gun: Maverick, which was the biggest film released in 2022. That feat now officially belongs to the Avatar 2.

If the film’s success continues, which it seems likely to do, the film will carry on up the list of biggest films ever to become one of the five highest-grossing releases of all time.

'Avatar: The Way of Water’ has been a box office smash (20th Century Studios)

This means that Cameron’s films would account for three of the top five alongside the first Avatar and Titanic (1997).

Currently rounding out the top five are Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers Endgame, which were released in 2019 and 2020, respectively, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

All of these totals are unadjusted for inflation. Taking that into account, the biggest film of all time remains 1939’s Gone with the Wind.

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