‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ to Surpass ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ as Top-Grossing 2022 Theatrical Release

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ pricey sequel Avatar: The Way of Water is projected to pass Paramount Pictures’ blockbuster sequel Top Gun: Maverick as the top-grossing global theatrical release in 2022.

With The Way of Water generating almost $39 million on Jan. 3, estimates suggest the James Cameron-directed sequel to his 2009 original Avatar can reach $1.5 billion by end of Jan. 4. Top Gun: Maverick ended its theatrical run with $1.488 billion in ticket sales. The Way of Water launched theatrically just three weeks ago on Dec. 14, while Maverick hit the big screen over the Memorial Day weekend.

Avatar 2 has topped the $1 billion threshold internationally, and more than $457 million across North American screens, becoming the 11th theatrical release in history to reach $1.5 billion. Maverick still holds the North American lead with more than $718.5 million in ticket sales.

Avatar 2’s international box office success comes despite ongoing COVID-19 infection concerns in China, which have shuttered many theaters. The Way of Water’s China box office remains the movie’s No. 1 foreign market at $165 million. That’s just $65 million more than France, which has seen its moviegoers flock to the cinema in record numbers to see the film.

Other top foreign box office markets for The Way of Water include Germany and South Korea at $75 million each, the U.K. at $59 million, and India ($51 million).

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