James Cameron Reveals Avatar: The Way Of Water Greatest Mistake

By Nina Phillips | Published

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While most movies are generally considered successes when they make above $1 billion at the box office, the sequel of the James Cameron Avatar movie, Avatar: Way of Water needed much more to be successful. In fact, James Cameron said in 2022 during an interview with Empire that the movie would need to make nearly $2 billion at the box office to be successful. However, it might not have been as dire as Cameron first suggested when talking about the budget.

$2 Billion Or Nothing

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Originally, James Cameron said that for Avatar: The Way of Water to earn even a little profit, the movie needed to make $2 billion. This would have meant that, to make money on the movie, This James Cameron Avatar sequel would have had to catch up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made just over $2 billion at the box office.

Later, he corrected himself: “I was a bit inaccurate with that. It probably has to be the tenth highest-grossing film in history to recoup the investment.”

Avatar 2 Needed To Beat Furious 7

To clarify, the 10th highest-grossing film of all time before Avatar: The Way of Water was released was 2015’s Furious 7, which was the tribute to Paul Walker. Based on that information, the James Cameron Avatar sequel would have had to make a little less than originally predicted, closer to $1.5 billion.

A Massive Budget

Back in 2017, the movie had a budget of around $250 million. However, this number was based on the movie being released in December 2020. Avatar: The Way of Water ended up being delayed by over two years, and while Cameron wouldn’t release exactly how much the movie cost to make, he did say it was, “very f***ing expensive.”

There were some worries about how well the James Cameron Avatar sequel would do. While the first movie currently sits as the highest-grossing of all time, the waiting period between Avatar and the sequel could have meant that the movie didn’t draw in a huge audience.

A Long Break

There were 12 years between the release of Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water. This meant that the teenage audience that loved the original was now old enough to have children of their own. This put a bit of pressure on the movie and the director, especially for how much the movie would need to make to be successful.

Thankfully, these worries didn’t much matter in the end. James Cameron’s Avatar sequel managed to make $2.3 billion, shooting past both the top Star Wars movie and pushing Avengers: Infinity War out of the top five list.

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With Avatar: The Way of Water a successful movie, it’s time to turn to the next installment of the James Cameron Avatar series. The third installment is scheduled to hit cinemas on December 19, 2025.

If the third movie does close to as well as the first two, it will be quite an impressive feat for Cameron, as he would have four of the five highest-grossing films in history, bumping Star Wars: The Force Awakens out of its spot in fifth place. Currently, Avatar sits in first place, with Avatar: The Way of Water in third, and Titanic in fourth.