James Cameron really likes water-themed movies. From The Abyss and Titanic to the groundbreaking first Avatar, over half of his career involves water movies.
But the director is far from washed up and is still making waves with Avatar 2: The Way of Water. The sequel scored a projected $63.4 million this past weekend and is projected to bring in another $20 million for the extended four-day weekend.
That brings the larger-than-life sequel to a massive 444 million dollar domestic total by the end of New Year’s day.
Well, they do say that consuming water is good for a hangover!
A High Watermark
Jokes aside, the movie is bringing in some serious business. The Way of Water is heating up and shows no sign of losing steam. Despite this early success, it’s unlikely to outperform its predecessor which went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. That was always an unrealistic goal for the highly anticipated sequel.
The first Avatar grossed a bewildering $2.9 billion worldwide (unadjusted for inflation). Avengers: Endgame comes in at second with $2.7 billion while another Cameron classic, Titanic, holds the third spot at $2.1 billion. Only five movies in history have made over $2 billion worldwide, and that watermark might be out of reach for The Way of Water.
There are still plenty of other metrics and milestones for the movie to hit. For instance, it will likely surpass Top Gun: Maverick ($1.48 billion) to become the highest-grossing movie that was released in 2022. The Way of Water also has the chance of being the most successful box office hit since the start of the pandemic, which is currently held by Spider-man: No Way Home ($1.9 billion). Only time will tell how well the movie will do, but it’s never a good idea to bet against a James Cameron movie.
But is the movie worth all the money that it’s making? Things get interesting when looking at the movie reviews. Critics and general audiences were in complete agreement when it came to the first Avatar. The film has a matching critic and audience score of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rare occurrence.
The sequel is currently underperforming with critics and overperforming with audiences. 92% of movie-goers like the film, while only 77% of critics gave the movie a positive review. In terms of making box office returns, producers definitely care more about the average movie-goer than a bunch of snobby reviewers. The early reviews are a good sign for those rooting for the movie to succeed, as word of mouth is a powerful engine for generating ticket sales. Who knows, the movie might end up breaking into the top five after all.
Another Day at the (Box) Office
This isn’t James Cameron’s first rodeo. He has a good track record when it comes to successful sequels. While viewers shouldn’t expect a Titanic follow-up anytime soon, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Aliens are films that lived up to (or maybe even surpass) their predecessors. With his history in mind, the long-awaited Avatar 2 had giant shoes to fill and was made under the presumption that it would be a box office and critical hit. That’s a tremendous amount of pressure, especially considering the subsequent Avatar films depending on the success of the long-awaited sequel. So far, it seems the movie is rising to the occasion.
The film delivers the immersive (and submersive) experience that audiences have come to expect from the acclaimed director. Even though the movie won’t make as big of a splash as the first Avatar, the sequel is far from underwater and will likely go on to be one of the most successful movies of all time.
Should you go see it?
Debating whether or not to add to the heap of money that the movie is making?
If you liked the first Avatar movie, chances are that you will enjoy the second. It’s the type of movie that’s better enjoyed at the theater. So, if you’re looking for a fun day at the movies then Avatar 2 is a safe bet according to review sites and the box office.
Well, Water you waiting for?