“Top Gun: Maverick” was the most promising hit of 2022, until James’ Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” graced theaters and blew the competition out of the park.

The sci-fi sequel has racked up $1.5 billion globally since its release on Dec. 16, making it the highest-grossing release of 2022, according to CNBC.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter stated that “Avatar” was the second-biggest movie during the COVID-19 pandemic, right behind “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

“Avatar: The Way of Water” also replaced “Furious 7,” which came out in 2015, as the 10th highest-grossing film of all time, according to Box Office Mojo, an IMDb website that tracks box-office revenue.

The original “Avatar” movie sits on top of the list of highest-grossing films, followed by “Avengers: Endgame,” “Titanic,” “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

How did ‘Avatar’ find success in theaters?

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After three weeks of consistently great box office numbers, “Avatar” proved its durability in theaters. On a franchise level, it works much differently than releases from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“While most of the MCU’s output require having watched previous films to fully grasp the narrative of the latest installment, ‘Avatar’ producers made a point to ensure ‘Water’ and future sequels contain standalone narratives,” wrote Varitey’s Kaare Eriksen, adding that it “lowers the barrier to entry for viewers unfamiliar with the 2009 film.”

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This may be why the recent sequels to “Doctor Strange” and “Black Panther” dropped in popularity at the box office the weekend after their debuts, while Cameron’s film keeps moving forward.

Which country is ‘Avatar’ most popular in?

According to Deadline, the top five overseas markets are:

  1. China — $165.5 million.
  2. France — $95 million.
  3. Korea — $77.2 million.
  4. Germany — $73.4 million. 
  5. U.K. — $59.5 million.
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