Avatar: The Way of Water has had a pretty easy run at the box office since its release in December. With very few big movies having been released since, the sequel has been given free rein over the domestic chart and has become the first movie since 2009’s Avatar to remain at the top of the box office for seven consecutive weekends. While this is certainly an achievement, Avatar: The Way of Water is still a long way off the holder of the record for consecutive box office weekend wins, which is E.T. with a huge 16 week box office run, one week more than James Cameron’s Titanic managed. While his latest blockbuster won’t be bothering either of those movies with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania guaranteed to take its crown on February 17, it could make its way into the top ten before then.
Avatar: The Way of Water has continued to defy post-pandemic expectations, and the expectations laid at the feet of a sequel that took 13 years to arrive. Having broken easily through the $2 billion milestone, leaving some of the biggest movies of all-time in the dust, Cameron will now have his sights on toppling his own Titanic as the third highest grossing movie ever behind Avengers: Endgame and Avatar.
Although there were some initial worries that Avatar: The Way of Water could be arriving too late for people to still care about the franchise, and arrive in a time when visually stunning movies are not as rare as they were a decade ago, those fears are now clearly foolish. With that in mind, the Avatar franchise now has a free pass to continue through its five movie plan in the coming years.
Avatar: The Way of Water gained itself a number of nominations in the shortlist categories for this year’s Academy Awards. While the movie managed to claim a place in the coveted Best Picture category, James Cameron was snubbed in the Best Director category. However, having proven himself beyond the need for such accolades, it is unlikely that Cameron will be losing too much sleep over the lack of recognition.
The likelihood of Avatar: The Way of Water actually walking away with the top award of the night is pretty slim. The category includes some more “regular” Oscar fare such as Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, and the extremely popular Everything Everywhere All At Once. Who will actually walk away with the statuette is something that is hard to predict, and with popular underdogs such as Top Gun: Maverick also in the mix, the result could still have the potential to surprise.
For Avatar: The Way of Water, its biggest achievement was always going to be related to its standing at the box office, and in that it hasn’t disappointed. Whether Cameron’s subsequent sequels, starting with Avatar 3 in 2024, can continue to reach the same impressive heights is something we can only wait and see. By the end of his run, it could well be possible for James Cameron to have directed six of the ten highest grossing movies ever, and that is a legacy that tops any missed Oscar win.