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‘Avatar 2’ overtakes ‘Titanic’ as the third highest grossing movie of all time

James Cameron’s epic “Titanic” has ceded its place as the third highest-grossing film in history to another James Cameron epic, “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

The next sci-fi movie grossed $2.2433 billion worldwide, enough to overtake Titanic ($2.2428 billion) at the worldwide box office. Now, “The Way of Water” is trailing only “Avatar” ($2.92 billion) and “Avengers: Endgame” ($2.7 billion) on the all-time charts. The only director with three films to gross $2 billion or more, Cameron has directed the first, third, and fourth-biggest releases of all time.

“James Cameron continues to chase himself on the box office charts,” says Sean Robbins, Senior Analyst, BoxOfficePro. “He clearly knows how to engage a modern audience.”

Like the original “Avatar,” the follow-up’s success has been attributed to its cross-generational appeal as well as the incentive to watch the film in premium and 3D formats. On IMAX screens, the film has surpassed $250 million. This is more cash than many films have managed to earn in all of their theatrical runs.

In North America, “The Way of Water” is the ninth highest-grossing film of all time with $657 million to date. In order to fly higher on the domestic charts at all, it would have to take down “Titanic” (at No. 8 with $659 million) and “Avengers: Infinity War” (at No. 7 with $678 million).

Elsewhere, “Avatar 2” recently surpassed “Titanic” to become the third-highest-grossing international release of all time with $1.585 billion. It is behind 2009’s “Avatar” ($2.1 billion) and “Avengers: Endgame” ($1.9 billion) in terms of overseas ticket sales. Notable markets include China ($242 million), France ($144 million), Germany ($135 million), and Korea ($106 million). The film ranks as the highest-grossing film of all time in more than 20 countries, including France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Colombia and Puerto Rico.

Disney and 20th Century spent nearly $460 million to produce and promote Water Way, one of the most expensive films ever made. The long-awaited sequel opened on the big screen in December and stayed in the top 5 at the box office for 10 consecutive weeks. Zoe Saldaña and Sam Worthington star in this otherworldly epic about family. The third installment is set to debut in December 2024 with plans for a fourth and fifth entries in the coming years.


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