Disney

Avatar: The Way of Water needs to be the third best selling movie in history to make a profit

The Avatar sequel needs to make upwards of two billion dollars in the box office to make a profit and secure Avatar 3 and Avatar 4.

James Cameron had already warned that even though they’ve filmed most of the footage from Avatar 3 and 4, both sequels depend on the success of the second part in theaters. According to the director’s recent statements, there seems to be more chances of them being canceled than not.

Speaking to GQ, Cameron admitted that Avatar: The Way of Water has been “very fucking” expensive, and that it represents “the worst business case in movie history.” And to keep the fear going around the Disney offices, he mentioned that “You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” for the movie to be profitable. “That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.”

The director did not go into specific numbers, but they’re not really needed at that scale. If you take a look at the highest grossing films in the history of cinema, everything points at Avatar 2 needing to make over two billion dollars to break even. The movie it’s been in production since 2013, and with a budget of 250 million, it would need to get firmly embedded in between the following titles:

  1. Avatar (2009, James Cameon) — $ 2,844,313,842
  2. Avengers: Endgame (2019, Anthony and Joe Russo) — $2,797,501,328
  3. Titanic (1997, James Cameron) — $2,201,647,264
  4. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015, JJ Abrams) — $2,069,521,700
  5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018, Anthony and Joe Russo) —$ 2,048,359,754

How many Avatar sequels would there be?

In case he actually makes it, Cameron would be able to continue his work with the sequels. In his mind, there’s five titles that he’s dared to actually name for the following films in the series:

  • Avatar 2: The Way of Water (December 16, 2022)
  • Avatar 3: The Seed Bearer (December 20, 2024)
  • Avatar 4: The Tulkun Rider (December 18, 2026)
  • Avatar 5: The Quest for Eywa (December 22, 2028)

It’s gonna be a lengthy ride

If the sequels were to be greenlit, we’d have to wait and see if they’re as long as Avatar: The Sense of Water. With a confirmed running time of 190 minutes (3 hours and 10 minutes), James Cameron warns that we don’t have a right to complain.“I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” he said. “I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonizingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a fucking break. I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row. Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: it’s okay to get up and go pee.”