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Avatar: The Way Of Water Cracks The Top 5 At The Box Office (& Is About To Take Down Another Major Franchise)

Payakan strikes back!

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is the gravy boat that keeps on swimming along, continuing its worldwide domination at the box office. James Cameron's long-awaited sequel to 2009's "Avatar," the current highest-grossing film of all time, was met with skepticism prior to its release. Many believed that "The Way of Water," which sees Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) return as the cyan-colored alien Na'vi, would be a success. However, it was certainly difficult to predict the heights the film was going to reach, especially after it failed to meet initial projections.

Deadline's initial projections suggested the film would open to $500 million plus during its mid-December weekend, a whopping sum that failed to manifest. While it was certainly easy to label the film a disappointment, especially after the "True Lies" director claimed the film needed $2 billion to be considered a success, the aquatic sequel proved itself worthy by boasting great legs. A month and some change later, Cameron's sophomore outing to Pandora has now grossed over $2 billion at the worldwide box office.

Cameron now stands tall as the only director to boast three films in the $2 billion club (1997's "Titanic," 2009's "Avatar"). With "The Way of Water" now one of the top 5 films at the box office, it has its eyes set on dethroning another major franchise, confirming that audiences and pundits should seriously never bet against Cameron.

The Way of Water just beat Star Wars at the box office

The way of water has no beginning or end...

The Hollywood Reporter confirms that "Avatar: The Way of Water" is on track to dethrone "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" from the No. 4 spot at the all-time high box office. The J. J. Abrams-directed space opera grossed $2.06 billion after its mid-December debut in 2015, peaking as the third highest-grossing film of all time. Despite "Star Wars" mania dominating the mid 2010s, "The Force Awakens" was never able to dethrone "Titanic" and "Avatar."

Are audiences more invested in the "Avatar" franchise than "Star Wars," which has a cultural footprint across several mediums, including video games and television shows? From a box office perspective, yes. Per The Numbers, across 12 theatrical films released between 1977 and 2019, the average worldwide gross for a "Star Wars" film is $859 million. No other film in the franchise has come close to touching "The Force Awakens'" $2 billion cume, with the nearest being Rian Johnson's "The Last Jedi," which grossed $1.3 billion in 2017. "Star Wars" isn't the only franchise that should be worried about "Avatar's" dominance.

The latest Sully clan adventure just recently swooped past "Avengers: Infinity War," knocking it out of the global top 5. The only "Avengers" film ahead of "The Way of Water" is "Endgame," which briefly held the number 1 spot at the worldwide box office until being usurped by the original "Avatar" after a profitable re-release, per CNBC. "Avatar" is two for two at the moment. With a numbers of sequels on the way, it remains to be seen if subsequent "Avatar" flicks can cross the $2 billion threshold. 

For now, however, all eyes are on "The Way of Water" taking down another Cameron movie... 

Can The Way of Water dethrone Titanic?

THR says that "The Way of Water" is now gunning for the number 3 spot at the global box office, currently held by Cameron's "Titanic," which boasts a global cume of $2.2 billion, per The Numbers. As it stands, "The Way of Water" is some $150 million plus away from dethroning the Kate Winslet-starring disaster melodrama. The outlet notes that eyes are currently on China, where the film has grossed over $200 million. The sequel is set to expand its screen count in the country in the coming days. 

Domestically, "The Way of Water" is chugging along, especially in the wake of the film passing the $600 million mark. Box office analyst Luiz Fernando suggests the sequel will bring in anywhere between $14.5 to $16.5 million domestically during its current 7th weekend, signalling an all-around great hold.

"The Way of Water's" dominance is wavering, however. 

@ERCboxoffice confirmed earlier this week that the record-breaking Bollywood film "Pathaan" topped "The Way of Water" by $100,000 on Wednesday, showing signs that Cameron's sequel is slowing down stateside. The upcoming weeks are also filled with diverse competition. The "Avatar" sequel has M Night. Shyamalan's upcoming "Knock at the Cabin" to worry about in the first week of February. There's also the comedy "80 for Brady," which should bring in NFL/Tom Brady fans and older audiences. The following week, on February 10, Cameron's "The Way of Water" will go head-to-head with "Cameron's "Titanic," which is set to re-release for its 25th anniversary. 

Will "The Way of Water" dethrone "Titanic" and become the number three film of all-time at the box office? Only time will tell as the box office enters February.