‘Avatar 2’ Shows No Mercy as It Prepares to Take Down Marvel’s Biggest Film

in Movies & TV

Jack Champion as Spider in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Disney

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) has broken several records since its December 16 release, from being the most successful film released during the COVID-19 pandemic era to the most successful IMAX film ever made, all the while racing to the top of the all-time box office, thrashing a number of Marvel Cinematic Universe/MCU films on its way.

From director James Cameron, the long-awaited sequel to Avatar (2009) is now on track to become the biggest film of all time, having already wiped the floor with major blockbusters like Jurassic World (2015) and Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015).

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

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

The film 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).

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.

Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022). Credit: Disney
Credit: 20th Century Studios

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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.

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

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With an insane budget in the region of $350–460 million. the Avatar sequel is the most expensive film ever made. Prior to the film’s release, James Cameron revealed that it would need to make at least $1.5 billion at the box office just to break even.

Well, Avatar: The Way of Water has shot way beyond the profit margin, having grossed over $2.244 billion worldwide in just over two months after its theatrical debut (it hit the $1 billion mark just two weeks after its release). So where does it now sit at the box office?

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

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

It’s no mystery that the top end of the highest-grossing films of all time list has been dominated by James Cameron films for a long time now. In 1997, Titanic (1997) wasn’t just an instant classic — it became the most successful film in history.

Cameron’s epic love story set sail for the top of the all-time box office, and it wasn’t until 2010, when James Cameron’s next blockbuster, Avatar, took theaters by storm the world over, that it lost its place. Well, it looks like history just repeated itself.

Rose and Jack on the floating door in Titanic
Credit: 20th Century Studios

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

Avatar: The Way of Water shows no mercy as it has officially overtaken Titanic, and now sits at the No. 3 on the highest-grossing films of all time list, tailing MCU film Avengers: Endgame (2019) in second place, and, of course, its own predecessor Avatar in first place.

But does the film have what it takes to overthrow MCU’s Endgame? Well, it has some $500 million to go — no small feat, of course — but it has already shot past Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and Avengers: Infinity War (2019), two of the biggest MCU films ever made.

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in MCU film 'Spider-Man: No Way Home'
Credit: Marvel Studios / Sony Pictures

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

While James Cameron doesn’t appear to be on a mission to take down Marvel films, the iconic director, like many others such as Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese, has been very critical about the MCU films.

And given Avatar: The Way of Water‘s mind-blowing success, Cameron is no doubt thrilled that the movie theater industry isn’t just back on track, but that more traditional blockbusters have started to dominate the landscape, while Marvel fans continue to feel fatigued from the over-saturation of MCU films and television shows.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in MCU film Avengers: Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

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

Recently, Steven Spielberg attributed the stabilization of Hollywood and the movie theater industry following the COVID-19 pandemic to Top Gun: Maverick (2022), by personally thanking Tom Cruise himself at an Academy Luncheon.

Whether or not The Way of Water will end up wiping the floor with Endgame remains to be seen, but either way, three of the top four places on the highest-grossing films list of all time are James Cameron-directed films. If that’s not an absolute win, we don’t know what is.

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

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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.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his son 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

Avatar 3 (2024), Avatar 4 (2026), and Avatar 5 (2028) will release on December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026, and December 22, 2028, respectively. But before the third film hits theaters next year, fans will be able to enjoy another installment, in the form of open-world, first-person shooter video game Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora (TBA).

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

Do you think Avatar: The Way of Water will claim the top of the all-time box office? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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