Horror movie beats Avatar 2 as most profitable movie of 2022

Bailey Bass as Tsireya in Avatar 220th Century Studios

It might have been the highest-grossing movie of 2022, but Avatar 2 was beaten by a horror movie as being the most profitable blockbuster of last year. 

There’s no denying the cinematic spectacle of James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar sequel, The Way of Water. Over the 13 years it took to reach theaters, technology developed at a rapid pace, and so too did the visual effects featured in the film. 

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t come cheap – Cameron doesn’t mess around with pocket change. As such, Avatar 2 is believed to have a production budget of $460 million, making it the most expensive movie in Hollywood history by a considerable distance.

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The filmmaker also knows how to draw in an audience, with The Way of Water earning a whopping $2.3 billion. That being said, in terms of budget to earnings ratio, a non-franchise horror beat the sci-fi sequel to becoming the most profitable movie of 2022. 

Horror movie beats Avatar 2 as most profitable movie of 2022

The endlessly creepy and wildly successful Smile from director Parker Finn has become the most profitable movie of 2022, beating out the competition from the Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana-starring sequel. 

Sure, Avatar 2 made way more money at the box office, but when this figure is compared to how much it cost to make, Smile – which stars Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, and Kyle Gallner – leads the charge. 

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According to analysis by Deadline, when factoring in production costs as well as advertising, residuals, and participations, the cash on return in terms of revenue over cost is estimated to be at 1.49, with a net profit of $531.7 million.

In the same analysis, Smile had a production budget of around $17 million and earned a sizable $217.4 million at the box office, enjoying a net profit of approximately $101 million, with a 1.94 cash on return. 

That should certainly give Parker Finn and Co something to smile about. 

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Smile is available to stream on Paramount Plus and Amazon Prime Video. You can read more about if there’ll be a sequel here.

Avatar: The Way of Water is on demand. You can read our review here, find out where to find to watch the movie here, and check out the rest of our coverage here.

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