Forget James Cameron, Zoe Saldaña Just Hit An Even Bigger Box Office Milestone

 Zoe Saldana in Avatar.
Zoe Saldana in Avatar.

There has been a lot of talk about James Cameron hitting the impressive milestone of directing 3 of the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. While that is an extraordinary landmark, actress Zoe Saldaña just passed her Avatar director by hitting an even bigger-box office milestone.

According to Box Office Mojo, James Cameron’s thrilling and mostly critically well-received Avatar: The Way of Water (now in its fifth week in theaters) has finally passed 2 billion dollars in worldwide box office gross. What does this mean for Zoe Saldaña? It means the Guardians of the Galaxy actress has been in four of the ten highest-grossing films of all time. An impressive feat for any performer to achieve.

Zoe Saldaña’s Four Highest Grossing Films of all time.

AVATAR (2009): Before 2009, Zoe Saldaña had mostly starred in small bit parts like Steven Spielberg's The Terminal or costarred primarily in forgettable films such as the Britney Spears-led and MTV-produced film Cross Roads. However, ’09 saw the actress take a meteoric rise in star power after the one-two punch of taking over the role of Uhura from icon Nichelle Nichols in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and starring in the James Cameron original franchise starter, Avatar. Trek brought in an impressive $385,680,446 worldwide and jump-started a rebooted timeline for the long-running and beloved sci-fi series, all of which starred Saldaña. But it was Cameron’s action-adventure series set in the world of Pandora that made history by making $2,743,577,587 and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time, a title it still holds fourteen years later.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018): If you have seen all of the Marvel movies in order, you are familiar with Saldaña’s incredible portrayal of Gamora in the James Gunn-directed Guardians of the Galaxy series of films. You’re also aware of how hard it is to imagine anyone else in the role of the green-skinned badass assassin turned crewmate of the Milano. If rumors are to be believed, the actress wasn’t even the first choice for the daughter of Thanos. The part of Gamora was initially offered to Olivia Wilde, who had to turn it down thanks to her filming of Better Living Through Chemistry. The rest, as they say, is history. Saldaña has played the Guardian in five films and two shorts, although she was absent from the holiday special. Avengers: Infinity War was the first movie in a two-part conclusion of Marvel’s decade in the making phase 3. The film grossed more than $2,048,359,754, landing it in the number five spot of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019): Avengers: Endgame was a 3-hour epic movie and a cathartic conclusion to a series of films that had run for the better part of a decade. It’s honestly no surprise this movie made as much money as it did, surpassing Avatar as the highest-grossing film for a moment before the Cameron-directed film was rereleased, knocking Endgame to second place. It still sits at number two with a worldwide gross of $2,799,439,100.

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (2022): Before Way of Water’s release, many were skeptical about whether or not the long-in-development sequel could have any box office legs considering the franchise had felt forgotten since its original release, even becoming somewhat of a punchline. Who is laughing now? After only a five-week run, the return to the world Cameron created back in 2009 is now the sixth highest-grossing film of all time and has been nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. It seems the filmmaker won’t be able to wiggle out of making his planned three more sequels.

What’s Next for Saldaña?

While some moviegoers may wonder where they have seen some of the stars of The Way of Water, chances are, they won’t be wondering about Zoe Saldaña because the actress’s star has never been brighter. The Adam Project performer is set to return this year to the role of Gamora in the final installment in James Gunn’s Marvel franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, and potentially three more Avatar films. Who knows, maybe all ten of the highest-grossing films will someday be nothing but Saldaña pictures.

While the star has opened up about feeling “stuck” in franchise films, she also has clarified her comments, saying she feels fortunate to be a part of the movies she’s starred in, but with her family growing and she’s not sure how much longer she can juggle both worlds.

We hope the Amsterdam actress can find some work-life balance. Being in four of the highest-grossing films of all time in merely fourteen years is a lot for any person. We will update you if there are any updates regarding Zoe Saldaña’s next highest-grossing film. Until then, check out our 2023 new movie releases list to plan your next cinema trip.