Avatar: The Way of Water is the latest James Cameron film, and tells the next chapter in Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri’s (Zoe Saldana) story, as they are forced to leave the forest and live with the Metkayina reef community following the events of the first film.
At the time of writing, Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide, and the expectations for this sequel are just as high. The film is already the second highest-grossing movie in 2022 and has earned over $1 billion worldwide at the box office. That’s not bad for a film that has only been in cinemas for a couple of weeks. No major blockbusters are being released in January, so the film could keep steadily climbing to begin the new year. As of Dec. 29, here are seven movies Avatar: The Way of Water outperformed in the box office, in reverse order.
7) Water Gate Bridge
Water Gate Bridge is a Chinese movie that has earned more than 600 million at the box office, despite a very limited international release schedule. A sequel to The Battle at Lake Changjin, this film tells the story of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army (PVA) soldiers as they fight for a crucial bridge in their battle with the American troops.
The greatest Chinese movie of the year, number nine in the 2022 worldwide box office, proves that the country is a powerful cinema industry on its own. That’s also the reason why, in the last few years, being successful at the Chinese box office has been so important for Hollywood. Water Gate Bridge also proves that the Chinese are creating their own heroes and movies, trying to cut some of the American influence from the seventh art, while also championing their nationalistic pride.
6) Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder has earned 760 million worldwide, in a movie that many people felt didn’t meet expectations. This film brings back Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, following one of the greatest runs on the comic for her character, where Jane becomes The Mighty Thor so she can survive cancer. This gives a solid continuation to a character who previously disappeared after she and Thor broke up off-screen.
The film is a mix of too many genres, from a scary movie to rom-com, to action film, to deadpan humor. Not everything works, but it still has some good moments. Both Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Christian Bale as the villain Gorr give it their all, even if the film wastes the Guardians of the Galaxy squad for an unfunny cameo.
5) The Batman
A new actor playing the Caped Crusader in a new darker Gotham has earned 770 million worldwide. People might be starting to get Batman fatigue, as this is the third actor playing the character in a decade.
This Batman (Robert Pattinson) has just begun his campaign the Dark Knight, and he’s still learning on the job. His work is already cut out for him, as Gotham is already full of criminals like The Penguin (Colin Farrell), psychopaths like The Riddler (Paul Dano), and anti-heroes like Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz).
With every new saga, the Batman franchise has been brewing a darker and darker DNA, and this latest version by writer/director Matt Reeves is no different. The film earns points for originality as it shows more of Batman’s detective side and an incredible car chase with an almost devilish Batmobile.
4) Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has grossed over $800 million at the box office, falling short of the first Black Panther movie that crossed the billion dollar threshold.
The film is full of grief and opens with the death of T’Challa, mirroring the real-life passing of Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played him. It tells the story of how his family moves forward, while also trying to protect Wakanda from a new threat: Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) and the underwater country of Talokan.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever touches on some heavier themes than most MCU movies. It also gives the spotlight to all the actors who were supporting players in the first Black Panther, especially Letitia Wright as Shuri. As is standard for an MCU film, there are some interconnecting scenes for future endeavors; the inclusion of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) proving the most outrageous.
3) Minions: The Rise of Gru
Minions: The Rise of Gru has raked in over $939 million worldwide at the box office. The Minions machine has been pushing out films long enough that some of the kids who saw the first film are already teenagers, and this might be the first nostalgia film for Gen-Z. Though the franchise had never quite captivated a teenage audience before, The Rise of Gru got a Tiktok trend going, with teens attending the movie en masse, dressed in suits and calling themselves the “Gentleminions”.
A prequel to the Despicable Me story, we follow Gru (Steve Carell) when he’s just a 12-year-old kid and first meets the Minions, who try to help him become the world’s greatest supervillain. Once Gru gets kidnapped, it all falls on this yellow blobs — especially Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto (a new minion with braces and a desperate need to please) — to save him.
Minions: The Rise of Gru has the same craziness, silliness, and Looney Tunes energy as the other Gru movies, while also having so many visual gags per minute that the parody movie Airplane! would be proud. The incredible 70s soundtrack is also great.
2) Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
The MCU has still got it. The promise of a film with multiverses and the possibility of many cameos that came with it, was enough for audiences to go to the theatre in droves. The film earned almost one billion at the box office, sitting at $955 million in worldwide gross.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness tells the story of the good Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in our dimension, who is trying to save America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from an unsuspected enemy: Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), also known as the Scarlet Witch. Wanda wants to use America’s powers to locate her kids in another universe and live happily ever after with them.
The film directed by the great Sam Raimi has a couple of standout scenes, including an epic showdown between Dr. Strange and Wanda, and another with the Illuminati, wherein cameos of many alternative versions of MCU heroes are killed one by one by the Scarlet Witch.
1) Jurassic World: Dominion
Jurassic World: Dominion netted over 1 billion worldwide at the box office, proving that dinosaurs and nostalgia for 90s movies are some of the best ways to bring people to the cineplex.
The new trilogy might not be as good as the old one, but the amazement of watching dinosaurs on the big screen is still strong. The intrigue is amplified even more so when this movie brings back the original band, adding Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum to the team to help the new kids played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Jurassic World: Dominion has some interesting ideas as the dinosaurs aren’t isolated on some remote island and instead share the world with all the other species, creating new habitats for the animals and humans, who must adapt to survive.
Avatar: The Way of Water has beaten all these movies at the box office, but it’s still not the 2022 Worldwide Box Office champion. There’s a small indie movie with an actor that’s just starting out that surpassed everyone’s expectations… and has become the only movie that outperformed James Cameron’s film at the 2022 box office.
The Only Movie That Outperformed Avatar: The Way of Water at the 2022 Box Office
Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick has been the most successful movie of 2022 with almost 1.5 billion dollars at the box office. The film has earned so much that it’s in 11th place on the Top Lifetime Grosses ever.
Tom Cruise has done it again. The sequel to one of his most famous movies was already shot before the pandemic hit, and only his movie star status prevented it from going into streaming in 2020. Cruise knew this flick was something special, and he was right.
The film follows Cruise’s Maverick thirty years later, as he’s still one of the best pilots in the Navy. This time he must train a new group of pilots for an almost impossible mission. One of those aviators is Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of Goose (Anthony Edwards), Maverick’s wingman in the original Top Gun who tragically perished. Saying that Rooster and Maverick’s relationship is not the best is a big understatement.
Top Gun: Maverick is one of the best films of the year, a sequel that’s somehow better than the original. Cruise’s search for authenticity and his craziness for real stunts made the shooting of this movie a unique wonder in the times of CGI. The actors were really in military jets while shooting their scenes, giving a dash of realism and amazingness to every frame that made the audiences go time and time again to the cinemas to watch Maverick, Rooster, Phoenix, and the rest of the pilot fighters.
Avatar: The Way of Water still has a couple more days to keep earning in 2022, and although it won’t take Top Gun: Maverick’s top spot at the 2022 Worldwide Box Office, it might end up surpassing Cruise’s film in the long run. Will it get to the heights of the box office success set by the original Avatar? We still don’t know, but the movie has earned a billion dollars in less than two weeks, and betting against James Cameron and his films has never been a good idea, so anything is possible.
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