Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldaña is in a box office league of her own.
Over the weekend, the actress's latest movie, Avatar: The Way of Water, surpassed $2 billion at the worldwide box office, making Saldaña, 44, the first actor to have four movies earn more than $2 billion. Her other three titles to reach the milestone are 2009's Avatar, 2019's Avengers: Endgame and 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.
Additionally, Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron is now the first director to have three films over $2 billion, the other two being the first Avatar and 1997's Titanic (while will be re-released in 3D this Valentine's Day).
Saldaña plays Neytiri in the Avatar films, which have more sequels on the way, and she next plays her Marvel Cinematic Universe character Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, in theaters May 5.
Last year, the actress, who also starred in the recent Star Trek movies, told Women's Wear Daily that she sometimes felt creatively "stuck" doing franchise films.
20th Century Studios Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)
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"I feel that for the last 10 years of my life, I've been just stuck. I felt stuck doing these franchises," Saldana said. "I'm very grateful for the opportunities that they provided, from collaborating with amazing directors and getting to meet cast members that I consider friends and getting to play a role that fans, especially children, love."
"But," she added, "it also meant that I felt artistically stuck in my craft of not being able to expand or grow or challenge myself by playing different sorts of genres and different roles."
Later in December, she clarified those remarks, reiterating that she is "grateful" for the major movie projects.
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"I feel grateful and like the luckiest girl in this town knowing that I was invited to join films with special directors in a special cast," she told Deadline. "And they resonated with people so much so that we get a chance to come back again and come back another time. If anything, I've reaped all the benefits of that, I've gained friends. I still have mentors that I call and I lean into."
She added, "I think that once I started my family, it just became really hard for me to sustain both worlds and also then cater to this curiosity of playing other different characters or playing earthlings, you know? But I'm happy in space. I've always been happy in space. I relate to people that love space as well."
Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters now.