Disney’s ‘Avatar’ sequel crosses US$1b at global box office

“AVATAR: The Way of Water” surpassed US$1 billion (RM4.42 billion) in worldwide ticket sales after two weeks in theatres, Walt Disney Co said.

The movie reached the sales milestone faster than “Top Gun: Maverick”, from Paramount Global, and “Jurassic World: Dominion”, from Comcast Corp’s Universal, the only other 2022 movies to sell US$1 billion of tickets. 

It’s the fastest a film has made that much since “Spider-Man: No Way Home” a year ago, according to a statement from Disney on Wednesday.

“The Way of Water” is one of the most expensive movies ever made and will likely need to keep up a strong sales pace to break even. Director James Cameron said it needs to take in US$2 billion in ticket sales to make money. The first Avatar made almost US$3 billion at the global box office.

In the US and Canada, the sequel has crossed US$300 million in sales, Disney said. Earlier this week, the Burbank, California-based company said that the picture had generated US$95.5 million in ticket sales in those markets over the long weekend alone, far exceeding expectations given theatre closures in some states due to blizzards. 

The film follows the indigenous Na’vi humanoid race that inhabits a moon called Pandora and the colonisation that threatens them. About 78% of critics recommend it, according to the review site RottenTomatoes.com. 

The domestic box office is still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, which closed theatres and halted production of new films for months in 2020. Domestic theatres had sold US$7.2 billion in tickets this year through Dec 25, compared to US$11.4 billion for all of 2019, according to data from Comscore Inc. — Bloomberg