Disney Showdown: ‘Avatar’ Now Officially More Popular Than ‘Star Wars’

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Rey in Star Wars The Force Awakens

Credit: Lucasfilm

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) continues to break box office records, and now, the long-awaited sequel from director James Cameron has proven that it’s the best faraway galaxy to have ever emerged from Hollywood, as it has officially overtaken Star Wars.

The stunning sci-fi epic sees the return of Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldaña (Neytiri), CCH Pounder (Mo’at), Giovanni Ribisi (Parker Selfridge), Joel David Moore (Dr. Norm Spellman), Dileep Rao (Dr. Max Patel), and Matt Gerald (Corporal Lyle Wainfleet).

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022)
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: EXPLAINED: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Ending

Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, who play Dr. Grace Augustine and Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar, are also back. However, this time, Weaver plays Jake and Neytiri’s Na’vi teenage daughter, Kiri, while Lang plays the “Na’vi version” of his character.

As per 20th Century Studios’ description, here’s the official spoiler-free synopsis for the film:

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.

Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: ‘Avatar 2’ Footage Leaves Us Wishing James Cameron Would Direct a ‘Star Wars’ Movie

With a whopping budget in the region of $350–460 million. the Avatar sequel is the most expensive film ever made. But prior to the film’s release in December, director James Cameron explained that it would need to make at least $1.5 billion at the box office just to break even.

Well, just two weeks into its release, The Way of Water soared past the $1 billion mark, and another two weeks later, it overtook box office titans Top Gun: Maverick (2022) and Jurassic World Dominion (2022), making it the highest-grossing film of 2022.

Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) in Malta in Jurassic World Dominion
Credit: Universal Studios (via Swvre YouTube)

Related: REVIEWED: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

And recently, it was confirmed that The Way of Water had also thrashed box office juggernaut Jurassic World (2015), which devoured $1.67 billion back in 2015. Now, it has been reported that The Way of Water has also thrashed Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015).

The first film in Disney’s sequel trilogy took the box office by storm the same year as Jurassic World, grossing $2.068 billion at the global box office. However, The Way of Water has now collected $2.075 billion, making it the fourth highest-grossing film in history.

Kylo Ren The Force Awakens
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘Avatar 2’ Opening Experience Not “Family-Friendly” Due to Movie Error

Having already overtaken Marvel films such as Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), The Way of Water was well on its way to the top. Now, it sits behind Titanic (1997), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Avatar (2009) — yes, two of these films also belong to Cameron!

The film’s success has led to James Cameron being labelled a “box office king”, but what could this mean for the future of the Avatar franchise? Well, with three more sequels planned (one of which is near-completion), it’s certainly set to dominate movie theaters for years to come.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Related: Questions We Have After ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

Avatar 3 (2024), Avatar 4 (2026), and Avatar 5 (2028) will release on December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026, and December 22, 2028, respectively, however, given the historical success of The Way of Water, it’s highly likely 20th Century Studios will look to churn out even more films. And here’s to hoping that Cameron will one day direct a Star Wars film!

But before the third film hits theaters next year, fans will be able to enjoy another instalment, in the form of open-world, first-person shooter video game Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (TBA).

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora official screenshot
Credit: Ubisoft (via official Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora website)

Related: James Cameron Reveals Clash With Studio Over First ‘Avatar’ Movie

As per the Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora website, here’s the synopsis for the upcoming game:

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora™ is a first person, action-adventure game developed by Massive Entertainment — a Ubisoft studio, in collaboration with Lightstorm Entertainment and Disney.

Built using the latest iteration of the Snowdrop engine, and developed exclusively for the new generation of consoles and PC, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora brings to life the alluring world of Pandora with all of its beauty and danger in an immersive, open world experience.

In this new, standalone story, play as a Na’vi and embark on a journey across the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen part of Pandora. Explore a living and reactive world inhabited by unique creatures and new characters, and push back the formidable RDA forces that threaten it.

Check out the official trailer below:

Related: ‘Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’: Everything You Need to Know

Avatar: The Way of Water also stars Cliff Curtis (Tonowari), Jamie Flatters (Neteyam), Jeremy Irwin (Young Neteyam), Britain Dalton (Lo’ak), Chloe Coleman (Young Lo’ak), Trinity Bliss (Tuktirey), Bailey Bass (Tsireya), Filip Geljo (Aonung), Duane Evans Jr. (Rotxo), and Kate Winslet (Ronal), all of whom are newcomers to the Na’vi.

Humans newcomers are Jack Champion (Javier “Spider” Socorro), Edie Falco (General Ardmore), Michelle Yeoh (Dr. Karina Mogue), Brendan Cowell (Captain Mick Scoresby), Jemaine Clement (Dr. Ian Garvin), Oona Chaplin (Varang), and CJ Jones.

Check out the final trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water below:

Related: The ‘Clone Wars’ Story Arc That Needs to Be Turned Into an ‘Avatar 2’-Style Movie

Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters now, in Dolby Cinema, IMAX, and IMAX 3D. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be released on the following platforms — PlayStation 5, Windows for PC, Xbox Series X/S, and Google Stadia.

Do you think 20th Century Studios will look to make more than just five Avatar movies? Let us know in the comments down below!

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