Avatar: The Way of Water Box Office Breaks $1 Billion Globally, Sets Fastest Record for 2022

Avatar: The Way of Water has crossed the $1 billion mark at the global box office, becoming the fastest film to accomplish the box office benchmark this year. This is only the third movie released this year to hit the mark, which is a stark reminder that the box office has still not fully recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to Avatar, Top Gun: Maverick took 31 days to clear the benchmark, and Jurassic World Dominion was almost out of theaters, hitting the number four months after release. By comparison, Avatar hit the $1 billion milestone in 14 days.

The fact that the film has a release in China, a huge box office that has largely shunned American blockbuster in recent years, likely helps it quite a bit. While Jurassic World Dominion did hit theaters in China, Top Gun: Maverick did not, and neither did Marvel's 2022 movies.

Avatar: The Way of Water opened at more than $400 million globally, including $134.1 million in North America. That's obviously pretty huge, but it was still underperforming relative to expectations in North America, which had Disney hoping for at least a $150 million opening. Nevertheless, the movie has been an absolute juggernaut internationally, earning over $700 million overseas so far.

Avatar: The Way of Water has to make a lot of money to break even. It is rumored to have been so expensive, that it would need to become one of the top ten highest-grossing films of all time just to turn a profit. While a $134 million opening doesn't feel like "all-time champion" material, it's worth noting that the original Avatar didn't have a bonkers opening. Instead, it had long legs, managing to retain and even grow its audience throughout its theatrical run. There's also the reality that Disney is heavily invested in the world of Avatar, with Pandora theming at some of its parks, which means the movie itself is only part of the story.

Avatar: The Way of Water has received mostly positive reviews from critics. It has a 78% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a consensus that reads, "Narratively, it might be fairly standard stuff -- but visually speaking, Avatar: The Way of Water is a stunningly immersive experience."

Avatar: The Way of Water is now playing in theaters.