No surprise here: “Avatar: The Way Of Water” continues to surge ahead commercially. Variety reports that James Cameron‘s blockbuster moved past the director “Tiantic” on the highest-grossing movies of all time list to #3 over the weekend. That makes three James Cameron movies with over a $2 billion worldwide gross: 2009’s “Avatar” at $2.923 billion; “The Way of Water” at $2.2432 billion; and “Titanic” with $2.2428 billion. In between Avatar and its sequel at #2? “Avengers: Endgame” with $2.7994 billion.
So now the question becomes whether “The Way Of Water” overtakes “Endgame” and the 2009 original. Short answer: probably not. Cameron’s new film remains in the top five at the weekly box office ten weeks after its release in December, but M. Night Shyamalan‘s “Knock At The Cabin” overtook for the #1 spot to start February. Since then, “The Way Of Water” has made between $6-11 million, fluctuating between the #2 and #3 spots in weekly box office gross. The math says if Cameron’s sequel keeps up that rate, it would take “The Way Of Water” at least five weeks to catch “Endgame,” and about seven weeks minimum to surpass “Avatar.” So, not impossible, but also unlikely. Still, anyone who bets against Cameron now after another runaway success is a total fool, so who knows?
As for Cameron, World Of Reel (via the LA Times) reports the director eyes a non-“Avatar” project after the theatrical release of “Avatar 3” in December 2024. That raises some eyebrows, but then again, Cameron was vocal in the lead-up to “The Way Of Water” hitting theaters that he may not direct “Avatar 4” or “Avatar 5.” The supposed alternative? An adaptation of Charles R. Pellegrino‘s “The Last Train From Hiroshima,” about survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in World War II. “We live in a more precarious world than we thought we did,” Cameron told the LA Times. “I think the Hiroshima film would be as timely as ever, if not more so. It reminds poeple that these weapons really do when they’re used against human targets.” Cameron first optioned Pelligrino’s book in 2010.
Considering that Cameron has worked solely on the “Avatar” franchise since 1999-2000, that marks over two decades on one mega project. And if he directs “A4” and “A5,” that’d be nearly thirty years devoted to Pandora and its saga. It’s therefore hard to imagine Cameron working on anything else, even indirectly like with “Alita: Battle Angel.” But even though the “Avatar” movies continue to make big bucks, Cameron’s other films like “Aliens” and his two “The Terminator” films remain arguably more critically revered. So, yes, Cameron is good at anything he puts his mind to, and, honestly, it’d be nice to see him try his hand at something other than “Avatar” for a bit.
Another thing to bear in mind: Cameron will be 70 when “Avatar 3” hits theaters in December 2024. So if Cameron wants to make something beyond “Avatar” films in the final act of his career, maybe he should hand the reins to other directors for the franchise’s fourth and fifth installments. At this point, it’s virtually guaranteed that whatever Cameron makes will make buttloads of cash. Since that’s what matters to Hollywood, Cameron will be able to transition away from “Avatar” if he wants to.
James Cameron Eyes ‘The Last Train From Hiroshima’ After ‘Avatar 3’