Avatar: The Way of Water

Was The Wait Worth It?


Alexis Heuer, General Writer

Since its release on December 16, Avatar: The Way of Water, directed by James Cameron, has surpassed $1 billion in ticket sales. The majority of the income has been mostly international, with $700 million coming from overseas and $300 million being made domestically. In just two weeks since its release, the second movie has made half of what the first did. 

Because of the first movie’s success at the box office (it is the highest-grossing movie of all time), Avatar 2 was expected to be a 10-figure movie. But why did the sequel’s release take 14 years? Of course, the most obvious reason for its delayed release was Covid-19. But that wasn’t the only reason. James Cameron is said to be a perfectionist and wanted to perfect the underwater CGI used throughout the film. Since 60% of the movie was underwater, the visuals depended on it. So, Cameron waited for technology to catch up with his ideas and expectations. 

Despite its economic achievements Avatar 2 is receiving mixed reviews. The portrayal of the N’avi people in the Avatar movies reflects the experience of many Native tribes. And the ocean clan in the second film represents the indigenous people from Maori, New Zealand. Cheney Poole, a critic of the Maori tribe, thinks of the movie as a “romanticization of colonization.” While the first film resembled the colonization of America, the second according to Poole “romanticizes” what the Maori people and other Native tribes are going through, and he believes the film “downplays their suffering.” 

Besides mixed feedback, the future of the Avatar saga seems to be already laid out. The Avatar saga was said to be 5 movies, with the last one rumored to be released sometime around 2028. According to Sam Worthington in his interview with Jimmy Fallon, the third movie is already 80% to 90% filmed, “and in four, we did a few scenes because the kids were aging out.” If Cameron sticks to the plan we could see a new Avatar movie every other year in December.