Avatar: The Way of Water takes place more than ten years after the events of the first film and tells the story of the Sully family.
Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” has had a coveted opening in China, a promising sign for a film that needs big box office returns to offset its massive budget.
The long-awaited sequel to 2009’s “Avatar” is one of the few Hollywood films to be granted access to the Chinese market in recent months. Government officials in the region, which began tightening restrictions on Western films even before the pandemic, have been tight-lipped about which films can be screened for its entertainment-hungry audiences.
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The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and was posted on 20th Century Studios’ official Weibo account.
Director James Cameron hasn’t put a price tag on “The Way of Water,” but estimates put it in excess of $250 million. The writer-director told GQ magazine that the budget for the sequel is so high that the film will it needs to become the third or fourth highest grossing film in history to break even. That means the film will have to cross the $2 billion mark worldwide.
International ticket sales were generally a major factor in the success of “Avatar” in 2009, as 2.13 billion of the film’s total $2.91 billion in ticket sales came from outside the domestic market. China contributed roughly $265 million.
Before the pandemic, China was the second highest grossing theater market in the world. Since cinemas reopened in the country, it has been one of the fastest recovering markets and generating success in cinemas.
In 2009, the total Chinese box office reached $910 million. Ten years later, his coffers exceeded $8 billion.
Perhaps the most important thing about this release is that it will take place on December 16th, the same day as his home debut. Disney saw success with this strategy when it released “Avengers: Endgame” on the same day in the US and China, leading to the highest global opening weekend in cinema history.
“Avatar” was a big success in China during its first release, and subsequent reissue in early 2021, when audiences flocked to theaters to see the film in premium formats. These screenings are more expensive than traditional laser or digital screenings and can increase overall ticket sales.