Star Wars: The Force Awakens is breaking box office records left and right, but it's still only been out for a few days. It's not even in the top 100 for all time yet, at least not for worldwide grosses. Give it time, however, and the movie will be seriously chasing James Cameron's tail. Cameron, of course, made both of the top two highest grossing movies ever, Titanic and Avatar — that's domestic and global. And unlike the new Star Wars episode, neither of them is a sequel.
If The Force Awakens does manage to take over the top spot from Avatar, then Cameron will have a shot soon enough to reclaim the throne for himself and the property with his own advantaged sequel. According to the Montreal Gazette, the director confirmed plans to release Avatar 2 on Christmas 2017. "At least, that’s what we’ve announced," Cameron told the newspaper. "But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart."
So, in two years, we could finally have the follow-up to the groundbreaking 3D spectacle from 2009, followed by two more installments, all of them planned to be shot consecutively. While the holidays belong to The Force Awakens this year, and next Christmas will see release of another Star Wars movie — the stand-alone Rogue One — there is nothing due from that franchise at that time in 2017. Star Wars: Episode VIII will be out earlier that year, on May 26.
In 2018, Avatar 3 will also get the Christmas time all to itself (separate from Disney's Lucasfilm output anyway), as the second stand-alone Star Wars movie has a May release date, too. Presumably, 2019's Episode IX will also be in theaters for Memorial Day while Avatar 4 can have the winter holiday season, and the box office crown will potentially just be passed back and forth between these two competing franchises for as long as they continue to be made.