‘Avatar’ sequel to open in China, boosting box office potential

  • “Avatar: The Way of Water” has been approved for release in China, according to the Wall Street Journal.
  • The first film was a hit in the world’s second-largest movie market, grossing over $260 million.
  • Director James Cameron says the sequel has to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time to break even.

“Avatar: The Way of the Water,” the long-awaited sequel to the greatest movie of all time, will avoid the fate of other Hollywood blockbusters during the pandemic and open in China.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese film officials approved the film’s release in the world’s second-largest movie market on December 16, the same day it opened worldwide.

Disney did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for confirmation.

Director James Cameron recently told GQ that “The Way of Water” was “very fucking expensive” to make and needed to be “the third or fourth highest-grossing movie in history” just to break even.

That would mean it needs to earn at least $2.07 billion to top the current #4 movie of all time, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Cameron’s “Avatar” and “Titanic” are the No. 1 and No. 3 highest-grossing films, respectively. “Avengers: Endgame” is #2.

China should be a key market for “The Way of Water”. The first film made $262 million there, with nearly $60 million coming from a re-release last year that showed there was still interest in the property in the region.

Hollywood releases have otherwise been rare in China during the pandemic, as China’s film administration seeks to bolster its own film industry. Film officials have made it a priority for local films to account for at least 55% of China’s box office in any given year.

China overtook North America as the world’s biggest movie market in 2020 and 2021 as American cinemas struggled to recover from the pandemic. That’s largely thanks to locally produced movies like “The Battle of Changjin Lake” and “Hi, Mom,” the world’s second and third biggest films last year.

China’s crackdown on overseas releases has meant the last seven Marvel Cinematic Universe films have been barred from the region, largely due to cultural and political sensitivities, including the most recent “Black Panther: Wakanda forever”.

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