Has the Camino del Agua been completed so far?

Has the Camino del Agua been completed so far?

Has the Camino del Agua been completed so far?

  • Like its predecessor, Avatar: The Way of Water is already one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

  • However, he still has a long way to go to break even for James Cameron.

  • Future Avatar sequels could be scrapped if the franchise doesn’t continue to make money.

  • How long will it be before Avatar: The Way of Water turns a profit?

(L-R): Neytiri and Jake Sully in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WATERWAY.  Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios.  © 2022 Twentieth Century Studies.  All rights reserved.

(L-R): Neytiri and Jake Sully in Avatar: The Way of Water from 20th Century Studios. (20th century studies)

13 years after James Cameron first took us into the dense jungles of Pandora, Avatar: The Way of Water is now in theaters. The long-awaited sequel is the second chapter in a proposed five-film arc, but that’s only if Cameron can continue to win at the box office.

In 2023, Avatar: The Way of Water has a deep ocean to navigate if it’s going to recoup its production costs and come anywhere near its predecessor.

Read more: Will audiences suffer from Pandora’s withdrawal again?

But what is happening with Avatar 2? Can it turn a profit for 20th Century Studios, a Disney subsidiary, or is the franchise dead in the water?

How much does Avatar 2 need to make to break even?

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - DECEMBER 9: Director James Cameron and actress Sigourney Weaver attend the movie premiere

James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver attend the South Korea premiere of Avatar: The Way of Water. (He Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images)

Though the original Avatar was once the highest-grossing movie of all time, it was later dethroned by 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. While it seemed like nothing could top the Avengers assemble after Thanos’ snap, Avatar’s 2021 relaunch will do so. saw him regain first place.

Since technology has come a long way since 2009, Cameron hoped to recapture the magic of the original by pushing The Way of Water beyond what we’d seen before. Along with the use of High Frame Rate (HFR) technology that runs at 48 frames per second instead of the industry standard of 24, and revolutionary underwater filming, there was also a huge marketing budget. If that wasn’t enough, adding Hollywood megastars like Kate Winslet to the cast means Avatar has to make a small fortune to break even.

Cameron originally said The Way of Water needed to make $2bn (£1.669bn) to turn a profit. Culture Crave reports that Cameron later said, “I was a bit inaccurate with that.” and has since re-dialled its estimates to $1.5bn (£1.252bn).

Cameron received a lot of criticism for this, with his critics saying that he gave unrealistic predictions to make die-hard fans flock to theaters.

Watch: James Cameron tells Yahoo his kids weren’t Avatar fans

The general rule of thumb is that a movie should earn at least double the original budget before it’s in the black. Early reports suggested that Way of Water had a budget of $250 million, so a goal of $1.5 billion suggests that the original budget was much more than we thought, or that they spent much more than usual to promote it. The latter seems more likely.

The reassessed numbers are a sizeable drop, taking The Way of Water from having to be the third or fourth highest-grossing movie of all time to around 10th. According to updated Box Office Mojo rankings (as of January 5), 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick currently sits in 11th place with $1.49 billion, while Furious 7 has $1.52 billion.

As of this writing, Avatar 2 is in 12th place with $1.482 billion and sits just behind Avengers: Age of Ultron’s $1.402 billion. It continues to climb, with Forbes predicting that it will be in seventh or eighth place (around Jurassic World and The Lion King) by Sunday, January 8.

It comes after a troubling $435 million Christmas debut weekend, which widely missed Avatar 2’s projected $500-$600 million. A rise in coronavirus cases in China is believed to be a contributing factor, but still thus, The Way of Water had the second biggest opening of 2022 and fell short of Top Gun: Maverick.

Importantly, it earned $152.8 million in China, the largest market outside of the United States.

What’s next for Avatar?

James Cameron used innovative underwater filming techniques while filming Avatar: The Way of Water.  (20th century studies)

James Cameron used innovative underwater filming techniques while filming Avatar: The Way of Water. (20th century studies)

With all this in mind, Avatar: The Way of Water is on track to hit that seemingly impossible $2 billion before it even leaves our screens. This is all due to more than just a huge marketing budget that reportedly ranges from $350-400 million.

Cameron implored us to go see the first Avatar in theaters, telling The New York Times that those who hadn’t seen the 2009 film on the big screen “haven’t really seen it.” This mantra was incorporated into The Way of Water, with the box office recovery of those troubling post-COVID releases like Black Widow.

The Christmas box office was less kind to Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, which slumped with a paltry $11 million domestic take against a $78 million budget. On the other hand, it did not have the same marketing power as Avatar 2, while detractors maintain that they had never even heard of it.

Read more: Avatar 2 reviews range from 1 to 5 stars

We know that Avatar 3 is definitely on the way after being shot back-to-back with The Way of Water, and with the latter’s huge box office, Avatar 4 and 5 seem more likely by the day. Good news because Cameron has already filmed large portions of Avatar 4 and confirmed that he fully wrote the script for the fifth.

The question is, will each Avatar need to earn an increasing amount of money?

Is bigger always better?

Sigourney Weaver returns to the Avatar franchise to play the teenage character Na'vi Kiri in The Way of Water.  (20th century studies)

Sigourney Weaver returns to the Avatar franchise to play the teenage character Na’vi Kiri in The Way of Water. (20th century studies)

Cameron isn’t afraid to flex the bank balance with the Avatar movies. The long wait between the OG and The Way of Water likely contributed to the higher costs, along with the fact that he completely scrapped his first script for Avatar 2. However, the wait also piqued fan interest to see if could match. The output of 2009.

According to film journalist Jeff Sneider (via The Hot Mic podcast), the director wants to send a full nine-hour Avatar 3 VFX cut to Disney before cutting it. All of this costs money, but with The Way of Water making a small fortune and maintaining a 92% positive audience and 77% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes, the franchise is going strong for now.

Read more: Hollywood star regrets turning down Avatar

Avatar 3 is apparently called The Seed Bearer and is scheduled for a Christmas 2024 release, and will feature the dark ‘fire Na’vi’ according to Cameron, followed by Avatar 4 in 2026.

Producer Jon Landau told io9 that there are big plans to visit Earth in Avatar 5, so we can already see the budget skyrocketing. Then again, Cameron may be able to shut everything down again.

Director James Cameron poses for photographers upon arrival at the world premiere of the film 'Avatar: The Way of Water'.  in London, Tuesday, December 6, 2022. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director James Cameron at the world premiere of Avatar: The Way of Water. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

The man in charge previously told Total Film that he’ll keep making Avatar movies as long as they’re profitable, but cautioned that he could easily say, “Okay, let’s complete the story within movie three and not go on endlessly.”

Much like the wait and see with The Way of Water, all eyes will be on the box office return of Avatar 3 to see if we get a trilogy or a fifth. When/if Avatar 5 hits screens in 2028, will we be looking at mythical charts where the top 5 highest grossing movies of all time are all Avatar?

We’re not sure yet… but the old saying still holds true: never bet against James Cameron.

Avatar: The Way of Water is already in theaters. Watch a trailer below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *