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Through Wednesday, the 20th Century/Disney release has earned $454 million domestically, and crossed $1 billion internationally for a worldwide cume of $1.51 billion. It also is now the No. 10 top-grossing film of all time, and the second-best of the pandemic era behind Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s $1.916 billion.
Paramount’s Top Gun 2 grossed a hefty $1.49 billion globally following its release in May 2022.
When the The Way of Water first opened, some said the big-budget tentpole launched behind expectations in its opening weekend. The movie quickly made up ground.
Cameron is known for defying the odds. Over the past 25 years, he has proven his naysayers wrong twice when Avatar, and a decade earlier, Titanic, became the top-grossing films of all time at the worldwide box office.
When doing press for the film, Cameron suggested it would need to earn in the $2 billion range to be considered a success (sources say the break-even number is around $1.4 billion). The Way of Water is one of the most expensive movies ever made, with an estimated production budget of more than $400 million and a marketing spend that brings the total price tag to at least $600 million, according to sources. It also runs three hours and 12 minutes, whereas the first Avatar ran 30 minutes shorter.
In December 2009, Avatar opened to a relatively modest $77 million on its way to grossing $2.92 billion globally, including rereleases, to rank as the top-grossing film of all time, not adjusted for inflation.
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