Aside from a brief period when it was surpassed by Avengers: Endgame, Avatar has been the highest-grossing movie of all time since 2009. And with the film’s first sequel finally hitting the big screen at the end of this year, James Cameron will almost certainly have another box office smash on his hands. But just how close will Avatar: The Way of Water come to matching the $2.85 billion gross of its predecessor? Not even Cameron himself can predict the answer to that question.
While speaking with The New York Times, Cameron discussed whether he thinks The Way of Water can be as successful as the original Avatar was 13 years ago. Cameron also admitted that the long gap between trips the films could hurt the sequel’s box office. In fact, it wasn’t until the new film’s teaser trailer premiered online that Cameron began to feel better about the way things might unfold.
“I was a little concerned that I had stretched the tether too far, in our fast-paced, modern world, with Avatar 2 coming in 12 years later,” said Cameron. “Right until we dropped the teaser trailer, and we got 148 million views in 24 hours. There’s that scarce-seen-but-wondered-at-principle, which is, ‘Wow, we haven’t seen that in a long time, but I remember how cool it was back then.’ Does that play in our favor? I don’t know. I guess we’re going to find out.”
Cameron also noted that even if The Way of Water came out sooner, its success still wouldn’t have been guaranteed. In the end, he needed to take the right amount of time to come up with a story that audiences could resonate with.
“I think I could have made a sequel two years later and have it bomb because people didn’t relate to the characters or the direction of the film,” added Cameron.
Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame briefly stole the box office crown from Avatar in 2019. But in 2021, a Chinese re-release propelled Avatar back to the number one spot. Starting this weekend, it will have another chance to expand its worldwide total. 20th Century Studios is re-releasing Avatar in theaters on Friday, September 23 for a limited time. The new screenings will show the film with remastered picture and sound.
Avatar: The Way of Water will hit theaters on December 16.
Do you think the sequel can outperform Cameron’s first movie? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: The World of Avatar: A Visual Exploration
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