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As 'Avatar 2' passes 'F7' in all-time box office, it's a great time to revisit the 'Furious' sequel

‘The Way of Water’ edges past Dom and the family for a spot among history's top 10.

By Benjamin Bullard
Avatar: The Way of Water (2023)

In the slow-paced, totally legal street race of year-on-year box office receipts, Avatar 2 has just edged out another speedy contender on its climb toward the top of the all-time leaderboard. 

Avatar: The Way of Water has now overtaken Furious 7 to claim the tenth spot on the worldwide list of history’s highest-grossing films, also creeping past former no. 11 all-timer, Top Gun Maverick, in the process. Via Entertainment Weekly, James Cameron’s sequel to his original 2009 smash Avatar has now collected $1.516 billion at the global box office, nosing past Furious 7’s $1.515 billion total as well as Maverick’s $1.489 billion haul to chart its first — but certainly not final — top-10 appearance. 

With Avatar 2 still in theaters after just the 20-day mark in North American release (and 22 days everywhere else), it’s a seat belt-safe bet that the Pandoran-set sequel isn’t finished inching its way toward an even higher ranking. As it already stands, Avatar 2 lands the overall franchise its second entry among the 10 highest-grossing films of all time, with its predecessor sitting all the way up at number one, with a lifetime box office of $2.744 billion. 

The hugely-hyped sci-fi spectacle also notched another superlative as part of its ascent, closing out 2022 as the year’s highest-grossing movie worldwide. Top Gun: Maverick was the film to beat on that front, and as the numbers above indicate, The Way of Water’s year-ending $1.516 billion finish was just enough to put it over the top. Maverick still takes the prize as the year’s highest-performing film on North American shores, though, thanks to a domestic haul of $718 million compared with Avatar 2’s $454 million.

With 11 films (and counting) in the Fast and Furious series, Dom and his extended daredevil family are still safely positioned near the front of the pack when it comes to history’s top-grossing overall film franchises, via a recent MovieWeb tally. Ringing in at the eighth spot behind multi-movie juggernauts like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, and James Bond, the Furious gang has amassed more than $6.6 billion in all-time receipts. There's no reason to count Avatar out, though: The Way of Water is just the first of a planned four-movie sequel cycle that, by 2028, could significantly shuffle the deck.

Either way, all the competition has us fueled up for the approaching release of Fast X, with the first film in a two-part Fast & Furious mega-installment set to screech into theaters this spring on May 19. In the meantime, we’re pouring one out for Furious 7 and its new 11th-place box office spot by drifting over to Peacock, where the pulse-pounding action film — starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker (in his final role), Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Djimon Hounsou, Tony Jaa, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, and Jason Statham — is revved up and ready to stream around the clock.

There's plenty more Furious action over on Peacock too, including the classic that kicked it all off, The Fast and the Furious.