Before the theatrical release of “Avatar: The Way of Water” at the end of 2022, James Cameron was plagued by uncertainty. “Can we make a profit even though the market has changed so much?” the director asked Reuters. “Or are we the last dinosaur left after the comet hits?” The doubts should have gone by now.
Because despite the corona pandemic, streaming services and rising prices, the masses flocked to his new movie. The “Avatar” sequel even made it to number three worldwide in the list of the most successful films of all time – measured by box office earnings. The leader remains “Avatar”, part one, from 2009. Fourth is “Titanic”. Starring Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet, the film held the top spot for many years – and was also directed by James Cameron. The director thus occupies three of the top four places in the ranking.
Inflation drives up cinema ticket prices
The first “Avatar” film generated nearly $3 billion in total box office receipts, according to the Box Office Mojo website, which tracks the box office. The runner-up, Avengers: Endgame, grossed $2.8 billion worldwide. In general, Marvel’s superheroes were a financial success – three films in the series made it into the top ten of the rankings.
However, the rating is also somewhat distorted: Since cinema tickets have become more and more expensive over the years and decades due to inflation, new films also tend to bring in more money. This is not least due to the fact that, with very few exceptions such as “Titanic”, all the films in the top 100 come from the 21st century. Adjusted for inflation, a film like ET, which grossed $793 million in real terms in 1993, would have grossed more than $2 billion – making it the seventh highest-grossing film of all time.
Due to the great popularity of streaming services, cinema films are sometimes almost obsolete. The example of “Avatar: The Way of Water” shows that this does not necessarily have to be the case: According to the Walt Disney Company, the film made more sales in Germany than any film before it. He replaced “Titanic” this year.
Source: “Box Office Mojo”