Avatar 2 may be the most expensive movie of all time

Cameron Frew
A still from Avatar 2

Avatar 2 may be the most expensive movie in Hollywood history, according to a new report.

Avatar: The Way of Water is James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to his 2009 box office king of the world, still the highest-grossing movie of all time to this day.

The follow-up has been branded as the “motion picture event of a generation”, a claim bolstered by the sparse theatrical calendar heading into December. No movie is brave enough to compete with Avatar 2.

However, while the original enjoyed an unprecedented run in cinemas and eye-watering box office returns, the sequel needs to do extraordinarily well – as it may be the most expensive movie ever made.

Avatar 2 budget reportedly above $350 million

Avatar 2 cost between $350 million and $400 million, as per The Hollywood Reporter. This makes it one of the most expensive movies of all time – if not the most expensive, if its production budget is on the higher end of those figures.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is somehow still the most expensive movie ever made, costing a whopping $379 million. Even adjusted for inflation, it’s held the top spot for more than a decade.

Below that, you have Avengers: Age of Ultron and Endgame, which cost $365 million and $356 million respectively.

However, Avatar 2 looks poised to take the Hollywood budget crown, as James Cameron recently revealed the sequel will need to be the “third or fourth highest-grossing film in history [to be profitable]. That’s your threshold. That’s your breakeven.”

Originally, The Way of Water was believed to have cost $250 million before marketing, with Variety reporting the batch of four sequels to have a combined budget of $1 billion. Neither 20th Century Studios nor Cameron has provided a hard number for Avatar 2’s budget, but it seems it may be record-breaking.

Most expensive movies of all time

Below you’ll find a list of the most expensive movies ever made, starting with the biggest budget and including Avatar 2. We’ve slotted it in with the most recent estimate. Note: this is unadjusted for inflation.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: $379 million
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: $365 million
  • Avengers: Endgame: $356 million
  • Avatar: The Way of Water: $350-400 million
  • Fast X: $340 million
  • Avengers: Infinity War : $325 million
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: $300 million
  • Justice League: $300 million
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story: $275 million
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: $275 million
  • John Carter: $264 million
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: $263 million
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi: $262 million
  • Tangled: $260 million
  • The Lion King: $260 million
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $259 million
  • Spider-Man 3: $258 million
  • Beauty and the Beast: $255 million
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: $250 million
  • Furious 7: $250 million
  • The Fate of the Furious: $250 million
  • No Time to Die: $250 million
  • Thor: Love and Thunder $250 million

According to Box Office Pro, Avatar 2 is projected to double the original blockbuster’s opening weekend, and with a theatrical release date secured in China, a worldwide gross close to $2 billion is no longer out of the question.

Avatar: The Way of Water hits cinemas on December 16, 2022. You can find out more about the movie here.

Related Topics

About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.