'Spider-Man: No Way Home' Could Unseat 'Avatar' as Third Highest-Grossing Film at Domestic Box Office

As of Sunday, Spider-Man: No Way Home had grossed over $735 million in the U.S. and Canada — only about $25 million away from Avatar's $760.5 million

Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Photo: Sony Pictures/Marvel Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

Spider-Man: No Way Home might soon be unseating Avatar as the third-highest-grossing film of all time at the U.S. and Canadian box office.

As of Monday, the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Spider-Man franchise had racked up over $735 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales since its Dec. 17 release, putting it only $25 million behind Avatar's domestic gross haul, according to IMDb's Box Office Mojo.

Despite opening over a month and a half ago, No Way Home also took the top spot at movie theaters this past weekend, beating out newer buzzed-about releases Scream and Sing 2.

Both No Way Home and Avatar still trail behind 2019's Avengers: Endgame, which grossed close to $860 million domestically, and 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens — the No. 1 highest-grossing film of all time at U.S. and Canadian box offices, with over $935 million.

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Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Sony Pictures/Marvel Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

This isn't the first time a Marvel film has overtaken Avatar — in fact, when Endgame edged into the No. 1 spot worldwide, Avatar director James Cameron congratulated Marvel on its achievement. (Avatar has since taken the top spot again.)

"Congratulations, @MarvelStudios!" he wrote on Twitter in July 2019, alongside an image of Iron Man in what appeared to be Pandora. The image read, "I see you Marvel — Congratulations to Avengers Endgame on becoming the new box-office king. James Cameron."

Anthony and Joe Russo, the directors of Avengers: Endgame, also posted their admiration for Cameron, 67, at the time.

"To @JimCameron – you're a monumental reason why we fell in love with film in the first place," they tweeted. "Thank you for always inspiring us and opening the world's eyes to what's possible. We can't wait to see where you take us next … "

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Cameron certainly has a chance to make up the difference domestically with the upcoming, long-awaited Avatar sequels, though he recently told Entertainment Weekly that, given the state of moviegoing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, he worries whether the subsequent installments can match the first film's success.

"The big issue is: Are we going to make any damn money? Big, expensive films have got to make a lot of money," said Cameron, who also directed the No. 3 movie with the biggest box office, 1997's Titanic. "We're in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again. Who knows?"

"It's all a big roll of the dice," he said.

Now owned by Disney following the company's 2019 acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the first Avatar sequel is currently slated for a Dec. 16 release. A third film is expected to debut in 2024, a fourth in 2026 and a fifth in 2028.

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