‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’: Can a Sequel Be Too Late?

In the noisy circus of CinemaCon, two presentations cut through the static: Disney debuted the trailer for James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water,” while attendees got their first look at Paramount’s long-long-long-awaited Tom Cruise sequel “Maverick-2022-movie-posters/”>Top Gun: Maverick.”The two films share high expectations — make that sky-high expectations.

“Maverick” projections hope for a 250-300 million domestic take — and more than double that for “Avatar 2.” If either went higher few would be surprised — each is a sequel to a title that was the best-grossing film of its year — but does success have a freshness-by date?“Top Gun” was the #1 film of 1986 — 36 years ago.

“Avatar” opened 13 years ago, in 2009.

“Top Gun” isn’t breaking any records — 54 years passed between “Mary Poppins” and its 2018 sequel.

Mary Poppins Returns” grossed a respectable 180 million domestic, but that was about a quarter of the original (in adjusted figures).

At best, the film broke even.

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