It’s official: “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the highest grossing film of 2022! With global ticket sales reaching an astounding $1.52 billion, the James Cameron-directed sci-fi epic has officially beaten out Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” which generated close to $1.49 billion in ticket sales since its May debut.
This huge success is a vindication for Disney’s plans for the Avatar franchise, which includes a new sequel every two years until 2028. The company acquired the rights to the franchise as part of its $71 billion purchase of 20th Century Fox in 2019.
It’s worth noting that “Avatar: The Way of Water” performed particularly well internationally, with 69% of its sales coming from overseas markets. In comparison, “Top Gun: Maverick” only generated less than half of its sales from international markets, and it never even opened in China. “Avatar: The Way of Water” on the other hand, generated $169 million in sales from China alone.
But how did “Avatar: The Way of Water” manage to outdo “Top Gun: Maverick” so decisively? Some experts attribute the film’s success to its international appeal, while others point to the clear runway the film had with little competition in the release schedule.
Others also pointed that Cameron built a career on movies that have a slow burn at the box office, like Avatar 2009, this is on display again with “The Way of Water” which had a solid start but pick up more steam as time went on. Over four weekdays between Christmas and New Year’s, the film took in around $300 million, more than most pictures generate in a year.
One thing is for sure, the future looks bright for the Avatar franchise, and we can’t wait to see what James Cameron has in store for us with the next installment. But for now, let’s all give a round of applause to “Avatar: The Way of Water” for becoming the highest grossing film of 2022.