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James Cameron Does it Again: ‘Avatar 2’ Becomes 4th Highest-Grossing Movie of All-Time

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ has topped both domestic and international charts, making it James Cameron’s third box-office hit.

20th Century Studios

Avatar is the highest-grossing movie in the world, with a lifetime gross of nearly three billion dollars. The infamous film inspired countless toys, artworks, and even theme park rides. Now, its long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, has joined the ranks as the fourth highest-grossing movie in the world.

Cameron’s Box-Office Monopoly

Currently amassing a whopping $2,129,714,940, Avatar: The Way of Water has become the fourth highest-grossing movie in the world. This is the third James Cameron movie in the top four, with Titanic at number three and, of course, Avatar at number one. The only movie in the top four that’s not Cameron’s is Avengers: Endgame, which was directed by the Russo Brothers.

In addition to its record-breaking numbers, the film also topped domestic box office charts for seven weekends in a row. As said by Paul Dergarabedian, the senior market analyst for Comscore, “James Cameron just keeps ticking off all the records and milestones.”

The Secret to Success

So what’s the secret to Cameron’s success? Nobody’s quite sure. Avatar, at the time of its release, was groundbreaking in its use of CGI and motion-capture technology. The images and visual effects of the film were certainly beautiful, even inspiring locations such as “World of Pandora” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and “Avatar Secret Garden” in Malaysia.

The Avatar tree of life, “Ewya,” at Avatar Garden, Malaysia. Credit: Ianxztan/Shutterstock

But for all the film’s beauty and success, its plot and characters weren’t half as memorable. Avatar was frequently called “the blue people movie,” and a random passer-by might be hard-pressed to remember even one of the characters’ names.

So if Avatar’s CGI technology is now commonplace, and no one could even remember the plot, how did the second movie get so popular?

The simple answer: curiosity.

The Curious Development of ‘Avatar 2’

The first Avatar came out in 2009. The second came out over ten years later, in late 2022. In a world run by instant gratification, this decade-long wait between movies was virtually unheard of. The wait itself caused a lot of buzz, theorizing, and questions.

The most important one, of course: why did it take so long?

Apparently, among other factors, James Cameron just wanted to take his time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Avatar franchise wasn’t filmed in a year–or even ten! Cameron made use of underwater filming technology, intricate planning, and new developments in CGI to produce another visually stunning and narratively satisfying movie.

It’s uncertain whether Avatar: The Way of Water will have the same long-lasting impact as its predecessor. Many movie-goers, myself included, went to see it solely out of curiosity, whether we were interested in the plot or not. The movie itself was good, but is it something I’ll remember, or care about, after another ten years? Honestly, I’m not sure.

But one thing’s for certain: James Cameron has made another billion-dollar movie. His high risk and careful use of time paid off in more ways than one. Now, let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another decade for ‘Avatar 3!’

To read more about ‘Avatar 2,’ click here.

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Written By

Haven, she/her, 21 year old English student from University of Florida.

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