AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER Currently Tracking To Make Less Than 2009's AVATAR At Domestic Box Office

There's a lot of excitement for James Cameron's Avatar: The Way of Water, though Disney will need to up the ante in terms of marketing because it's tracking to make quite a bit less than its predecessor.

Avatar arrived in theaters in 2009 to positive reviews and record-breaking box office numbers. Ultimately, the 3D blockbuster would go on to make more money than anyone could have imagined possible, becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time in the process.

While it briefly lost that title to Avengers: Endgame, a re-release in China during the pandemic saw the James Cameron-helmed sci-fi adventure retake the #1 spot. Last weekend, the remastered version of Avatar earned an additional $30.5 million, but how will the upcoming sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, perform when it splashes down this December?

Unfortunately, not quite as well as its predecessor.

According to Variety (via SFFGazette.com), current projections point to the movie earning around $650 million at the domestic box office. That's less than the $772 million grossed by Avatar, with the fact that there's no longer much interest in the 3D format a major contributing factor. 

While Avatar: The Way of Water could ultimately exceed expectations, the fact that so many studios attempted to cash in on Avatar's success with lazy 3D conversions - including Marvel Studios - is what ultimately killed the format. Cameron knocking it out of the park could bring people back, but perhaps not enough to help this sequel surpass the first movie's success.

Interestingly, this predicted number also means that Avatar is unlikely to become the biggest title released in 2022. 

That title is currently held by Top Gun: Maverick, a movie that's grossed $700 million in North America and $1.5 billion worldwide. Heading into this year, none of us could have guessed that the Top Gun sequel would shoot down Avatar: The Way of Water's box office prospects, but the Tom Cruise-led blockbuster has massively exceeded expectations. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also looks set to break box office records, so it promises to be a very interesting few months!

Avatar: The Way of Water arrives in theaters worldwide on December 16.

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