In its first weekend, Avatar: The Way of Water grossed $435 million at the global box office. Approximately $301 million was taken from markets other than the United States, including India and the all-too-rare China – the latter is infamous for limiting Hollywood movie releases in the nation ever since the COVID-19 outbreak. According to media reports, the results are somewhat lower than the expected $450 million, with the second Avatar film underperforming in the United States and Canada.
According to Disney, Avatar 2 earned Rs. 160 crore in India on its opening weekend, surpassing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ lifetime collection of Rs. 126.94 crore. The final numbers may appear intimidating to Disney and 20th Century Studios for a film that apparently cost roughly $400 million to make.
The real test for Avatar: The Way of Water, though, will be how many seats it can fill in the coming weeks and months. The original 2009 Avatar only managed to gross $242 million globally on its opening weekend, but it quickly rose to become the most successful film of all time. Not to add that the holiday season has resulted in a dearth of competition in Hollywood, which could benefit the James Cameron-directed sequel.
Avatar: The Way of Water will face two main challenges. The first difficulty is to break even, which Cameron has dubbed the “worst business case in movie history.” “You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history,” he remarked, for Avatar 2 to be considered profitable. That is your limit. That is your break even point.” Disney has not commented on the specific statistics, but rumors indicate that the budget is around $400 million.
Then there’s the 3 hour and 12 minute duration, which is Cameron’s second-longest film since 1997’s Titanic. Cameron stated in an interview with Total Film that the sequel focuses more on its people and relationships than the 2009 film, which resulted in the stated length. “I don’t want people grumbling about length when they sit and binge-watch for eight hours,” he said of film lengths.
Avatar: The Way of Water picks up 15 years after the events of the first film, with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaa) raising five children in the lush forests of Pandora’s exotic moon. When the “Sky People,” headed by a resurrected Recombinant Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), arrive, the family flees to the coast, where they find the Metkayina clan, who teach them about water and help them prepare for fight.