Once again, James Cameron is king of the world.
Avatar, which became the biggest money-maker of all time when it was released back in 2009, raking in $2.789 billion worldwide. It finally lost that title two years ago, however, after a decade-long reign. In 2019, Avengers: Endgame became the new box office champ by eking past Avatar with a global haul of $2.797 billion dollars.
But now, with a new re-release in China over the past week, Avatar has reclaimed the throne, boosting its all-time gross to $2.802 billion.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens still wears the domestic crown with $937 million in North America; globally, it ranks fourth with $2.068 billion. Cameron’s Titanic still rests securely at third with $2.471 billion.
The big winner in this, er, titanic back-and-forth is Walt Disney Studios, who owns both film franchises (along with Star Wars and Titanic, for that matter).
Once the sole property of 20th Century Fox, Avatar became another valuable Disney IP when the Mouse House completed its purchase of the Fox movie slate in 2019 for $71 billion dollars. It’s since been rebranded as 20th Century Studios.
Avatar remains a bit of an odd champion. In the 12 years since its global dominance, the CGI-landmark blockbuster seems to hold little affection or nostalgia within the broader pop culture.
Nevertheless, multiple sequels are currently in production. James Cameron has scripted and is currently directing 4 new Avatar films simultaneously in New Zealand. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver are among the returning cast, along with the addition of Cameron’s Titanic star Kate Winselt.
Avatar 2 is set to hit theaters on December 16, 2022, with subsequent sequels 3, 4, and 5 slated for release on December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026, and December 22, 2028.
No word yet on an Avatar re-release in North America, but don’t be surprised if we see it back on big screens in the next year or so as part of the ramp-up toward Avatar 2. Currently, Avatar can be streamed on Disney Plus.