A more than a decade-long wait is all set to come to an end finally as James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to the 2009 global blockbuster Avatar, is opening on December 16 worldwide. The upcoming epic science fiction film is already tracking for an impressive $525 million opening ($175 million domestically and $350 million internationally) and has been declared already by all those who have watched it to be a visual masterpiece in which Cameron once again adopts more features with the technologies in hand while also reinventing himself by adapting to them.
Cameron is the only filmmaker to have his name set in stone for having two all-time top 5 worldwide highest-grossing films, which are not based on any pre-existing IP (intellectual property), comic book, or sequels. While Avatar (2009) is the number one film on the list with $2.9 billion, Titanic (1997) is at number three with $2.2 billion in worldwide gross collections. That being said, Avatar: The Way of Water is releasing at a time when Avatar continues to reign at the top as the highest-grossing venture of all time, thus elevating it into a rare film club. This unique phenomenon for a film succeeding a previous venture in a franchise as the sitting highest-grosser has occurred only twice before in the past - George Lucas' Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).
1. The Empire Strikes Back hit theatres in 1980 at a time when A New Hope remained at the top spot for the next three years for the highest gross after its release in 1977.
2. The Lost World opened in cinemas in 1997 as Jurassic Park continued to dominate the field for the highest gross after its release in 1993.
It is to be noted that Avatar had held the top spot for a decade until Avengers: Endgame released in 2019 went past its collections minting $2.79 billion in worldwide collections. However, subsequent re-releases enabled Cameron's 2009 visual spectacle to regain the mantle of being the highest-grossing film with the numbers coming up to $2,9 billion. James Cameron, who opened the $1.5 billion, $2 billion, and $2.5 billion club, will be looking to become the first filmmaker to hit the $3 billion mark in collections with Avatar: The Way of Water, and all sights will now be set on how far the film will go into raking the moolah.