Franchise expectations after Avatar: The Way of the Water imply that james cameron will finally break Steven Spielbergdirectors’ impressive box office record. While James Cameron continues to hold the record for highest-grossing film at the box office with 2009 Avatar, the director is still behind in a few key categories, with Steven Spielberg reliably holding the crown for those accomplishments. However, while Cameron still has a long way to go, the Avatar 2 The director’s future plans suggest he could replace Spielberg as the highest-grossing director of all time.

Steven Spielberg’s reign as the highest-grossing director at the box office isn’t all that surprising, as the filmmaker has been making smash hits and leading franchises since 1975. Jaws. Cameron, on the other hand, is one of the only directors it’s not wise to bet against at the box office, no matter what movie he’s coming up with. However, while Steven Spielberg has made over 30 feature films over the past five decades, James Cameron has only made eleven films since 1982, including two documentaries. Nonetheless, both Cameron and Spielberg hold positions among the top five grossing directors at the box office.

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Related: Avatar Sequels Mean James Cameron Could Match Huge Spielberg Record

While Steven Spielberg has a massive filmography of full-length feature films he’s been behind the camera for, James Cameron is getting a head start by already being signed on four major upcoming movies. Spielberg, on the other hand, is currently only expected to direct one movie coming in 2023 that is unlikely to break box office records. After James Cameron’s long-awaited December 2022 movie Avatar: The Way of the Waterthe director will helm at least three more sequels with Avatar 3 in 2024, Avatar 4 in 2026, and Avatar 5 in 2028. If Avatar: The Way of the Water is as successful at the box office as expected, James Cameron could end up surpassing Spielberg’s record as the highest-grossing director of all time.


James Cameron’s Impressive Box Office Story Explained


James Cameron Avatar 2

James Cameron’s first feature film, 1982 Piranha II: Spawning, was an indie horror that was critically acclaimed and bombed at the box office, but that didn’t stop the director from sticking around for long. Cameron’s second feature was none other than the classic sci-fi action flick The Terminator, which grossed $78.3 million on a budget of $6.4 million. The film stayed at number one at the box office for two weeks in 1984, which was only the start of Cameron’s box office success. Two years later, Cameron realizes aliensthe sequel to Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking sci-fi horror film Extraterrestrial. Now considered one of the greatest science fiction films of all time, aliensThe worldwide box office gross is estimated at $183.3 million, making it the third highest-grossing film of 1986 after Upper gun and Crocodile Dundee. While Cameron’s next film, the abysswasn’t as successful with just $90 million at the box office, it was the director’s follow-up that really revealed its incredible box office power.


In July 1991, James Cameron’s film Terminator 2: Judgment Day arrived in theaters as a smash hit, with box office receipts totaling around $520.9 million. The film’s opening weekend was such a hit that it became the second-highest five-day total after Batmann (1989). Terminator 2 then became the highest-grossing film of 1991 and the third-highest-grossing film of all time behind star wars and Spielberg AND the extra-terrestrial. Cameron’s follow-up, real lies, was also a huge hit with $378.9 million at the box office. Then, of course, came Titanic. The 1997 epic romance broke records beyond expectations, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time with box office receipts of $1.843 billion on its first theatrical release; subsequent reissues would bring that total to $2.202 billion. Cameron’s next film broke its own box office record in 2009 Avatar still remains the highest-grossing film of all time with $2.847 billion. Not only has Cameron twice set the record for the highest-grossing film in history, he still holds the record today for the number one and three highest-grossing films. The only movie that stands between Avatar and Titanicbox office earnings are for 2019 Avengers: Endgamewho briefly disconcerted Avatar as the highest-grossing film before Cameron’s film took over the title in 2021.


Steven Spielberg is the highest-grossing director (it’s not even close)


Steven Spielberg broke his Oscar record with the Post Lincoln color purple

While James Cameron has set many box office records himself, he still falls short of one of the most impressive achievements: highest-grossing director of all time. That title belongs to the one and only Steven Spielberg, whose films have grossed a total of $10.6 billion (and counting). Not only is Steven Spielberg the highest paid director in history, but none of his competing filmmakers even come close. The second highest earning directors are the Russo Brothers, who post a total of $6.84 billion thanks to their Captain America and avengers MCU movies. After the team of directors, Peter Jackson (6.53 billion dollars) and Michael Bay (6.44 billion dollars), James Cameron being the fifth highest-grossing director with 6.29 billion dollars in box- office. While the four finalists are all within a few hundred million dollars of each other, Spielberg holds a sizable lead of nearly $4 billion between him and the Russos — nearly 1.5 times more than their total earnings.


Related: Why James Cameron’s Avatar Is So Divisive (Despite His Box Office Success)

Avatar’s Future Means Cameron Could Finally Take Spielberg’s Box Office Crown


James Cameron Steven Spielberg's Avatar Sequel Record

While Spielberg might have looked unstoppable had he stayed on as 2023’s director Indiana Jones 5, the filmmaker doesn’t have too many anticipated projects on his list at the time of writing. As such, James Cameron is in the perfect place to use his momentum with Disney’s Avatar the franchise expects to reasonably overtake Spielberg by the end of the decade. It all depends on both the idea that Spielberg is not committed to any major project and the initial success of Avatar: The Way of the Water. Whether Avatar 2 turns out to be making at least $1 billion (less than half of its predecessor’s earnings), so James Cameron is well on his way to having his follow-ups work the same way.

Considering Avatar (2009) continues to hold the record for highest-grossing film at $2.85 billion, James Cameron’s total box office receipts are set to soar over the next decade with four upcoming sequels to the hit film . Whether Avatar: The Way of the Water and its three planned sequels each gross at least $1 billion, Cameron will be neck and neck with Steven Spielberg’s total of $10.6 billion. However, this also assumes that Spielberg doesn’t present himself with billion-dollar movies until 2028. Spielberg’s highest-grossing movie of all time is from 1993. jurassic park, which made $1.03 billion at the box office. It’s still only half of what James Cameron achieved for the first time Avatar brought, suggesting that it is highly unlikely that Spielberg will continue to stay billions of dollars ahead of Cameron over the next few years.


It’s not wise to bet against James Cameron at the box office, so if Avatar 2 and its sequels are as successful as the filmmaker and Disney expect, the gap between Cameron and Spielberg for highest-grossing director of all time will be much smaller. As of this writing, Cameron needs $4.4 billion to pass Steven Spielberg, which at first glance seems nigh impossible – that is, until he realizes how much silver Avatar continued to win internationally since 2009. Ahead Avatar: The Way of the Waterfrom December 2022, James Cameron will reissue Avatar, which should see the 2009 film break another box office record if it exceeds a total of $3 billion. While Steven Spielberg is attached to many upcoming films as a producer, the success of these projects will not impact his box office total, greatly increasing James Cameron’s chances of breaking his record. . With the announced successes of Avatar: The Way of the Water and its consequences, james cameron could very well surpass Steven Spielberg as the highest-grossing film director of all time by 2028.


Next: Avatar 2 Won’t Beat Endgame’s Box Office, But Could It Beat No Way Home?

  • Avatar 2 (2022)Release date: December 16, 2022
  • Avatar 3 (2024)Release date: December 20, 2024
  • Avatar 4 (2026)Release date: December 18, 2026
  • Avatar 5 (2028)Release date: December 22, 2028

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