James Cameron's long-awaited sci-fi sequel has now taken $2,244,456,991 (£1.866 billion) during the two months it has been on release, moving ahead of 1997's disaster movie — also directed by Cameron — which has taken $2,243,134,099 (£1.864 billion).
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Disney, the studio behind Avatar, celebrated the news over the weekend thanking the fans worldwide for their 'passion' and 'love' which propelled the movie into the upper echelons of movie history.
— Avatar (@officialavatar) February 19, 2023
Watch: Avatar: The Way of Water dominates visual effects awards with nine wins
Cameron has now directed three of the five highest-grossing movies of all time, with Avengers: Endgame now standing in the way of him occupying the top two spots.
The 2019 MCU movie has grossed $2,799,439,100 (£2.326 billion) to date, which means The Way of Water will need to take another $555 million to leapfrog the Russo brothers' superhero movie if it is to take second place.
With increased competition at the box office from blockbusters like Ant-Man 3, Cocaine Bear, and Creed III The Way of Water's momentum looks unlikely to take it past Endgame, but — as the old adage goes — never bet against James Cameron.
The Way of Water was released 14 years after Avatar, and picked up the story of Jake Sully and Neytiri on the planet of Pandora. Having grown into a family of six — plus human boy Spider — they find themselves hunted once again by human invaders, and take refuge among the water-dwelling Metkayina tribe.
Praised by critics and audiences alike, the film followed in its predecessor's footsteps in growing into a global phenomenon and breaking box office records, including being the second-fastest to gross over $2 billion, reaching the milestone in 40 days.
It won the Bafta for Best Special Visual Effects at the 2023 Baftas, and is nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture.