Can ‘Avatar 2’ Mimic ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ With a Long Box Office Run?

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Many of the factors that boosted Tom Cruise’s biggest hit can help James Cameron’s ultra-expensive sequel

"Avatar: The Way of Water" and "Top Gun Maverick" (Twentieh Century; Paramount)

The long-awaited opening weekend of “Avatar: The Way of Water” didn’t post jaw-dropping numbers, especially in North America, but the megabudget James Cameron sequel did well with a $134 million domestic and $441 million global launch. But the question still remains whether it can match or exceed the total box office of 2022’s top grossing film, Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Getting even close to the $2.74 billion original run of the first “Avatar” is almost certainly out of the question now, as COVID outbreaks in China have stifled hopes for a potentially record-setting run that “The Way of Water” would need to make money in a modern box office with much shorter theatrical windows than in 2009.