The box-office returns for Avatar: The Way of Water have started to roll in, and they signal another massive hit for James Cameron. The megablockbuster, which was released on Dec. 16 in the United States, made $434 million globally in its opening weekend, with $134 million of that coming from the domestic box office.
The Way of Water’s opening is a huge improvement on the relatively slow debut of the original film, which brought in only $77 million in the United States. Despite that figure, Avatar climbed to the top of the all-time box office standings thanks to 3D upcharges and an impressive ability to keep audiences coming back to Pandora week after week.
Avatar: The Way of Water may manage a similar staying power to its predecessor, despite starting out with a way bigger first-weekend haul. If it can hold onto this success, and draw enough curious viewers and return customers, then its huge debut could help it grow into a similar-sized phenomenon as the original — even if cracking its predecessor’s box office record total of approximately $2.9 billion (after a few re-releases in the 13 years since it debuted) still seems a little far off to predict.