Summer box office champion Top Gun: Maverick is set to soar again, as the Tom Cruise blockbuster returns to theaters ahead of Avatar 2.
Top Gun: Maverick is getting a theatrical re-release ahead of Avatar 2. After decades of speculation about the possibility of Top Gun 2 ever happening, Tom Cruise finally returned to the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in 2022. And like Maverick himself, Cruise’s Top Gun sequel defied the odds by soaring to a massive worldwide box office haul of $1.48 billion.
The summer box office season was indeed dominated by Top Gun: Maverick, which opened to $160 million domestically over Memorial Day weekend and on Labor Day was still holding down the top spot. But the movie’s massive gross clearly wasn’t enough for Paramount, who are re-releasing instant classic to theaters from December 2 to December 15. That gives the Top Gun follow-up another two weeks to pad its box office total ahead of the release of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, the only movie coming out this holiday season that has a chance to topple Top Gun: Maverick from the year’s top spot.
Will Avatar 2 Beat Top Gun 2’s Massive Box Office Haul?
Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar remains one of the biggest grossers of all-time, boasting a domestic box office total of $749 million and a worldwide number of $2.7 billion. Now over ten years later, Cameron is finally releasing the long-awaited Avatar 2. Despite the first Avatar being over a decade in the rearview, the sequel is projected to gross $150-$175 million in its opening weekend. But worldwide box office is where the true Avatar 2 bonanza is expected to come, as the sequel attempts to rival the original movie’s all-time global box office record.
That international appeal is indeed why Avatar 2 is almost a lock to surpass Top Gun: Maverick’s worldwide haul of $1.48 billion. Indeed, anything less than a $2 billion worldwide gross would be a disappointment for Cameron, who says his Avatar sequel needs to make at least that much to break even. Whether Avatar 2 approaches Maverick’s $716 million domestic gross is of course another question. Avatar 2 does have the advantage of a relatively open playing field this holiday season, as other studios have cleared the decks rather than be flattened by Cameron’s juggernaut. That could mean a long run at the top for Cameron’s return to Pandora.
And a long run at the top is indeed what it will take for Avatar: The Way of Water to approach the numbers put up this summer by Cruise and Top Gun: Maverick. As previously mentioned, Top Gun 2 ruled the entire summer, finishing first on both bookend holidays. It remains to be seen whether Avatar 2 will have legs like that, but history suggests that it will, as both the original Avatar and Cameron’s Titanic held on for long, lucrative runs after opening late in the year. And Avatar 2 will indeed need to dominate more than just the holiday weekend if it wants a shot at matching Maverick’s historic box office performance.
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