Avatar 2 Needs To Clean Up At The 2022 Box Office, But Could Another Disney Movie Eclipse It? Here Are The Odds

We may still be in the early stages of 2022 movie releases, but there are plenty of heavy hitters ready to make a dent in the box office landscape throughout the year. One of the most anticipated has to be James Cameron’s long-awaited/often delayed sequel Avatar 2, and that’s a good thing as the film needs to clean up at the box office. But could another Disney movie eclipse it? The odds seem to be speculating that’s a very strong proposition.

The Odds For The Highest Grossing Movie Of 2022, Including Avatar 2

As we’ve done in the past during our tracking of the James Bond betting odds, we turn to a fresh field of data from US-Bookies. Looking at their standings for what movie will top the box office in 2022, Avatar 2 is definitely riding in a pretty commanding position. However, the movie is currently in second place, with a film that might surprise some as the frontrunner for top grosses. Here’s where the stats provider’s playing field lies, according to the odds:

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: 29/20
  • Avatar 2: 2/1
  • Thor: Love And Thunder: 5/1
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: 6/1
  • The Batman: 10/1
  • Mission Impossible 7: 10/1
  • Jurassic World: Dominion: 12/1
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One): 14/1
  • Lightyear: 14/1
  • The Flash: 20/1

It’s not surprising for a Marvel Studios film to be predicted as the highest-grossing film of 2022, as they tend to top the ranks pretty often. What might be surprising is the fact that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the movie that’s taken the top spot, and with a 40.82% chance of doing so. As the first entry in the Benedict Cumberbatch solo franchise sits in 26th place for all MCU grosses (according to numbers from Box Office Mojo), one might not have guessed this would be the cinematic supreme offering.

Much like Tom Holland’s James Bond odds bump, it appears that Stephen Strange’s connection to the juggernaut that is Spider-Man: No Way Home might be the source for such good news. Marvel Studios has certainly laid down the tracks for such a happening, thanks to the first trailer for the Sam Raimi-helmed sequel being attached as a post-credits sting. Now with a Super Bowl ad apparently introducing Patrick Stewart’s Professor X into the mix, the hype train is going to gather even more steam. It doesn’t change the fact that Disney still needs Avatar 2 to clean up at the 2022 box office -- and for some pretty huge reasons. 

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Zoe Saldana in Avatar, pictured side by side.

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/20th Century Studios)

Why Avatar 2 Needs To Clean Up At The 2022 Box Office

There are some major parallels between James Cameron’s sci-fi epic and Kevin Feige’s comic-based money printer. Both children in the Disney nursery have been in operation through roughly the same timeframe and, with their acquisition into the studio family, they’ve become priority properties. Even with similar upbringings, Avatar 2 has greater pressure on it to succeed, as it’s coming in over a decade after the franchise began. 

Numerous delays and a budget of over $1 billion across four films are apparently riding on Jake Sully’s return to the big screen. On paper, this feels like a simple gamble for Disney, as nearly $3 billion have been raked in by the 2009 franchise-starter alone. That being said, that was before the MCU changed the box office and pop culture landscape through 14 years of constant operation. 

What makes this scenario even tighter for the next Avatar film is that the MCU isn't even the only source of competition. Warner Bros and DC Comics' film output also has some spots in that rundown, thanks to The Batman and The Flash showing up. Also, Disney reboots like Lightyear and legacy-quels like Jurassic World: Dominion could prove to be unpredictable spoilers themselves. Mr. Cameron's previous film may have changed the landscape in terms of 3D acceptance and box office records, but a lot has shifted in the years his champion has been absent from the arena.

Avatar 2 needs to clean up at the box office because it’s another vital piece of the Disney machinery. With production on two of the four follow-ups either in the can or pretty close to completion, and with the fourth film already partially filmed, the future of what has once again become the highest-grossing film of all time is in a tight spot. The first sequel absolutely has to catch up to, if not surpass, its predecessor; otherwise, there might be some stormy weather on Pandora and its moons. 

Odds are always subject to change, and as we see in the full field above these numbers are slightly outdated. Pulled prior to Mission: Impossible 7’s big move to 2023, there’s plenty of room for this story to change in future updates. 2022’s box office is just getting started, and for all we know Disney's sci-fi flick will get a nice boost once it debuts marketing materials, footage, or even an official title.

Avatar 2 is slated for release, at the time of this writing, on December 16, 2022. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cracks the walls of all reality on May 6th. That’s a pretty huge gap between these competitors, and it’s not over until James Cameron’s next epic chapter closes its box office run. In other words, we’re just getting started in this epic cinematic battle. 

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.