Why Avatar: The Way of Water Is The Movie That Saved Hollywood, Not Top Gun: Maverick

Why Avatar: The Way of Water Is The Movie That Saved Hollywood, Not Top Gun: Maverick

Why Avatar: The Way of Water Is The Movie That Saved Hollywood, Not Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick has been widely lauded as the movie that saved Hollywood, but perhaps Avatar 2: The Way of Water is the movie that deserves the praise. The compliment, “You saved Hollywood’s ass and you might have saved theatrical distribution,” should’ve been directed towards James Cameron who’s coming off a strong 2022 because of the Avatar sequel. Top Gun: Maverick vehicle grossed an astonishing $1.488 billion at the worldwide box office. The Tom Cruise vehicle surprisingly and impressively outgrossed four superhero heavy hitters: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Batman, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panda: Wakanda Forever. However, Top Gun: Maverick didn’t come close to matching the $2.268 billion that Avatar: Way of Water has made worldwide.

As such, while it is right for Steven Spielberg to want to recognize Top Gun: Maverick‘s achievements in the post pandemic cinematic climate, the sentiment is incorrect. The Avatar franchise was an unknown intellectual property that came out in 2009. Thirteen years later, the sequel confirmed that mainstream audiences are still thirsty for quality and original content despite the massive growth of both Marvel and DC universes. With over $2 billion in the bank, Avatar 2 is certainly no underdog; however, it definitely should still be recognized for its influence on the cultural and entertainment landscape toda.

Avatar Proves Superheroes Aren’t The Only Game In Town

Avatar 2 saved hollywood

For the first time in a decade, the era of superheroes seems to be slowing down. Thanks to the tremendous success of the Marvel Cinema Universe, mainstream audiences have been flooded with heroes like Thor, Captain America, and ironman. Marvel has ten films that had made over $1 billion worldwide while DC only has four – The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Joker, and Aquaman. Still, most of their DC filmography has made it past the $500 million mark. The superhero genre is undoubtedly a lucrative business, so it makes sense for Hollywood to keep producing superhero content. However, the genre has become oversaturated with mediocracy and has put a hamper on the genre as whole.

Now, there are few franchises that have proven to be a worthwhile competitor to the superhero genre – The Fast and Furious, Jurassic Park, and James Bond franchises are the biggest names. However, the difference is that those films have established intellectual properties that has grown into a billion dollar franchises. Avatar was not. Avatar banked on James Cameron’s name and the impressive technology that started the entire 3D craze for major blockbusters.

The original film garnered an astonishing $2.923 billion in 2009. This was well before Top Gun: Maverick, who only further re-enforced that superheroes aren’t the only game in town. Avatar: The Way of Water was riskier because the production budget was $250 million. The first film received mixed reviews as many felt that the story wasn’t on the same levels as its visuals. Avatar: Way of Water could’ve been the next John Carter, but it’s currently at No. 3 in the top grossing films of all time list.

The Financial Success Confirmed That Audiences Are Still Hungry For Original Content

Why Avatar: The Way of Water Is The Movie That Saved Hollywood, Not Top Gun: Maverick

The reason that superhero films have been able to thrive for such a long period of time is due to quality, diversity, and scarcity. Films such as Deadpool, Logan, and Joker changed the formula on what a comic book film could be. WandaVision, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil proved that superheroes can be just as compelling on the small screen. The genre continued to be a success as years passed by and the mainstream market became heavily focused on big budget superhero films. Marvel has made over $25 billion worldwide and that’s just based on the films alone. However, James Cameron has proven that he understands what people want because Titanic, Avatar, and Avatar: The Way of Water are among the top five highest-grossing films of all time. Avatar was all before Top Gun: Maverick came onboard.

Beyond that, in a post pandemic climate, with theater goers hesitant to return to their old haunts, the theatrical industry was genuinely threatened with many cinemas shutting down. While, yes, Maverick got the chairs in the theater occupied again, it was The Way of Water that reignited the “movie-going experience” by making a grand spectacle of its release. As such, Avatar 2 is the film that saved Hollywood’s ass, not Top Gun: Maverick.

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