How Kate Winslet Felt When James Cameron's Avatar Topped Titanic At The Global Box Office

Box office records are not always the topic of discussion amongst most movie fans. Admittedly though, it can come up on certain occasions, especially when you consider that a director like James Cameron has topped the leaderboard for highest-grossing film of all time, and more than once. With the Avatar sequel -- The Way of Water -- debuting shortly, we just might see the iconic visionary do it again, which could mean that Kate Winslet’s reaction to the first film beating out Titanic is going to get a lot more interesting.

During the recent press day in London for 20th Century Studios’ would-be history maker, our own Sean O’Connell got to talk to Ms. Winslet about her role in Avatar: The Way of Water. As the discussion turned to the record-breaking success of 2009’s origin story for this sci-fi juggernaut, she was asked how she felt when 1997’s Titanic was pushed out of the top slot. While sharing her feelings with CinemaBlend, Kate Winslet provided a unique response:

Yeah, but that’s just Jim, isn’t it? … Well it’s made me now think that, well ok, so if I’ve got the longest breath hold of any known actor out there, so far, well then it makes me feel that I’ve got to go one better. If Jim can go one better with Avatar, I’ve got to go one better with a breath hold.

There are already some insane stories about Kate Winslet’s underwater prowess during the production of the first two Avatar sequels. It was astonishing enough to hear about producer Jon Landau’s amazement while observing the actor’s ability to hold her breath. However, looking at Winslet’s claim by the numbers, it becomes an even more amazing feat. 

Reports regarding the filming of Way of Water clocked Kate Winslet at seven minutes when it came to holding her breath underwater. Previously, the longest stint that had been reported was connected to the production of Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, as Tom Cruise held his breath for six and a half minutes. That sort of success is something that anyone should aspire to, and it’s probably the sort of domination that 20th Century Studios and Disney are hoping to see with their latest holiday offering.

Pressure is surely high for James Cameron and his universe to deliver yet again, especially with the wild Avatar sequel budgets that have been reported. Far from the surprise smash hit he made with Titanic, it's been reported (via GQ) that if this movie isn’t at least the fourth highest-grossing film of all time, it won’t even break even. At the time of this writing, unadjusted for inflation, that comes out to roughly the $2.1 billion raked in by another Disney beast, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Still, early reactions to Avatar: The Way of Water seem to repeat an adage that most have held near and dear to their hearts throughout this long and winding road: “Never bet against James Cameron.” Kate Winslet would certainly attest to the strength of that saying, as she continued to praise her Titanic collaborator as follows: 

You know, Jim is just such an impressive person. He’s a genius, and when he sets his mind to something, he’s gonna do it and he’s gonna do it to the best of his ability. I try and be a little bit like that myself, so I’m sure that’s why we get along so well.

Here’s hoping that opening weekend for Avatar: The Way of Water doesn’t cause anyone, especially Kate Winslet, to hold their breath with anticipation. Though admittedly, if she decided to do so, she’d probably be training to push herself harder for future work in that very franchise.

The next chapter James Cameron’s epic opus arrives in theaters on December 16 and will only the beginning of a very wild ride. So if you need to brush up on your Pandoran history, a Disney+ subscription is all you need to see Avatar yet again or to check it out for the first time. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.