The remarkable performance of Avatar: The Way of Water continues.
Sometime on Friday, James Cameron’s big-budget extravaganza will surpass the $2.071 billion grossed worldwide by Star Wars: The Force Awakens to rank #4 on the list of best actors in history at the global box office, not adjusted for inflation.
The next milestone: Passing Cameron’s Titanic, which has amassed $2.194 billion in ticket sales worldwide, including re-releases.
Box office insiders are now confident The Way of Water will eventually overtake Titanic with a worldwide budget of $2.25 billion to $2.3 billion. A key factor will be China, where Cameron has a huge following. The Way of Water has earned over $230 million in China to date, its highest performance of the pandemic era. And the film will expand its screen count again after losing screens to local language films last weekend due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Disney, home of the 20th century, is cautious about forecasting The Way of Water and Titanic.
For Cameron, these are luxury problems. Once The Way of Water overtakes Lucasfilms Force Awakens, the filmmaker will lay claim to three of the top four grossing films of all time in a remarkable feat.
The all-time list is topped by Cameron’s original Avatar ($2.92 billion), followed by the Russo brothers’ Avengers: Endgame ($2.79 billion), according to Comscore. Titanic is currently number 3. The Way of Water is not expected to catch up with Marvel’s Endgame or the first Avatar released in 2009.
Much like Cameron, Disney – also home to Marvel and Lucasfilm, among other brands – dominates the top end of the all-time charts. Already the sixth film in history to break the $2 billion mark worldwide, The Way of Water currently ranks fourth on the list of top international films with more than $1.458 billion in ticket sales. earner. Domestically, as of Thursday, its gross totaled $605 million, which ranks it 13th on the list of top-performing films.
A fun twist: On February 11th, Paramount and 20th Century are releasing a 3D remastered version of Titanic in time for Valentine’s Day. The worldwide reboot could gross an additional $30-$40 million, taking the film’s worldwide sales to $2.224-$2.234 billion.
But again, analysts and insiders expect The Way of Water will sink the Titanic. And from the point of view of Cameron and his longtime producing partner Jon Landau, The Way of Water is a priority as it’s part of an ongoing franchise with more films in the works. The winner of Best Picture Titanic, released in 1997 and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, was a single shot across the bow (albeit a very loud one).