Avatar: The Way of Water is less than a month away from splashing down into theaters, but can the sequel possibly hope to live up to its record-breaking predecessor at the box office?
Despite a brief tussle with Avengers: Endgame, the 2009 movie is still the highest-grossing blockbuster of all time, with over $2.9 billion globally. Believe it or not, though, Avatar only made $77 million during its opening weekend, with positive word-of-mouth (mostly relating to those groundbreaking 3D effects) ensuring it had legs both domestically and overseas.
So, what does the future hold in store for Avatar: The Way of Water?
According to early projections from Box Office Pro, the sequel is currently on track to open somewhere between $135 million - $175 million. In terms of what it will make by the time all is said and done in the U.S., it should gross a total of $475 million - $720 million, with the latter figure slightly less than what Avatar managed.
We don't know whether this follow-up will be released in China, but between these more conservative-than-expected estimates and the way the pandemic has affected box office takings, it's hard to imagine Avatar: The Way of Water reaching the same heights as the first movie.
Considering we've been waiting thirteen years for the sequel, we're a little shocked that it's not even close to having an opening weekend on the same level as movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Like in 2009, we'd guess this one will break records over time rather than during those first few days.
A third movie has been shot, so we're getting that whatever happens. While Avatar: The Way of Water isn't going to flop, we do wonder if it will be deemed as a disappointment if it makes a penny less than $2 billion (which is ridiculous).
Avatar: The Way of Water arrives in theaters on December 16.