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Avatar 2 Slated for a Record-Breaking Release

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Avatar: The Way of Water expected to open strong this week

This week marks the debut of the Disney film Avatar: The Way of Water and analysts predict record-breaking domestic ticket sales of at least $150 million.

Since the first movie broke box office records, more than ten years have passed. And the Avatar movie by James Cameron continues to hold the record for the largest box office take in cinematic history.

It will, however, only be a matter of time until we learn whether the smash movie’s sequel will live up to the hype. Avatar: The Way of Water might make about $175 million in its first week, coming up short of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which made about $187 million when it debuted in May.

“In the big picture, I’d expect a leggy box office run whose story won’t be told on opening weekend alone. This is not a comic book blockbuster with an apparent rabid fan base to front-load sales. James Cameron’s films have historically engaged general audiences deep into their theatrical windows. However, it’s worth considering that the box office climate has changed even since his previous Avatar film in 2009,” said Shawn Robbins, BoxOffice.com chief media analyst.

The original Avatar movie could have had a better start. In 2009, its first week’s earnings were barely $77 million. Nevertheless, the movie kept playing in theaters and became more popular over time. Ultimately, it ran for 234 days in US theaters and other countries.

The film made a total of $760 million in the US and an additional $2 billion in foreign sales. Cinema firms predict that until February, Avatar: The Way of Water will only face a few formidable rivals. Therefore, it could follow the same course as its forerunner.

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A breakeven for Avatar: The Way of Water

The immersive experience for viewers will be improved by the availability of Avatar: The Way of Water in 3D. However, the movie’s distribution style will be a key component in selling it to the general public, say experts.

Disney and Cameron’s marketing for the second Avatar film stressed the importance of viewing it in 3D. If fans want to watch the movie in IMAX, ticket costs will be higher than usual. Cameron said that for the Avatar film to profit, it must shatter previous box office records. To achieve $2 billion internationally.

“I like difficult. I’m attracted by difficulty. Difficult is a fucking magnet for me. So I go straight to difficult. And I think it probably goes back to the idea that many smart, gifted, talented filmmakers out there just can’t do the difficult stuff. So that gives me a tactical edge to do something nobody else has ever seen because the gifted people don’t fucking want to do it,” said Cameron.

EntTelligence reports that 56% of the tickets sold for Avatar: The Way of Water’s first weekend were 3D tickets. As a result, the movie will earn more money overall. In contrast to a previously released movie, just 17% of the first-week ticket sales for Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” were for 3D watching. Tickets for the movie in 3D start at $16.50, while 2D versions cost $12.50 apiece.

Airing in China

The Avatar movie’s acceptance to air in China is one of its best conditions. With billions of viewers, Disney anticipates making a profit from Chinese viewers. The original Avatar film brought in about $265 million from Chinese audiences.

However, the current issue is that Beijing and other Chinese commercial centers are on lockdown because of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases. But many are surprised since, except for Avatar, China has been preventing the release of many Hollywood films there.

“Chinese audiences have a strong appetite for the sequel. On leading ticketing app Maoyan, 1.24 million users had said they “want to see” The Way of Water, slightly more than those who indicated likewise before the release of China’s biggest 2021 film, The Battle at Lake Changjin, which earned $899 million,” wrote Patrick Brzeski.

“It’s very hard to predict the box office right now. It all depends on the lockdowns — and we have no idea exactly what the lockdown situation is going to look like across the whole of China next week,” explained Jimmy Wu, Lumiere Pavilions CEO.

“Then again, James Cameron has beaten the odds in China before. Among Chinese millennials, few titles are as stirringly nostalgic as the first Avatar. The movie was among the first wave of Hollywood blockbusters to sweep the country as it was entering its high-growth box office boom era of the late aughts — and Avatar became the biggest sensation of them all,” added Brzeski.

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The Chinese market

According to several Chinese theater professionals, The Way of Water may receive comparable backing to the previous film. The first Avatar film did not enjoy great popularity when it premiered. However, as soon as people began to watch it, it became popular and made millions, eventually accounting for a sizable portion of its worldwide sales.

“Despite record snowfall and bitter cold, “Avatar” burned up China’s box office, earning about 35 million yuan ($5 million) Monday to set a record for a weekday opening here,” wrote Jonathan Landreth.

“The 22nd-century sci-fi movie could be on its way to confirming China as the 21st century’s second-highest-grossing territory for Hollywood blockbusters outside the US.”

“Although nearly a foot of snow blanketed China’s capital on Sunday and James Cameron’s $1 billion global box-office hit didn’t premiere here until midnight that night. Moviegoers still lined up in near-zero temperatures for half-price 40 yuan tickets ($5.85) and sold out the show at the Sanlitun Megabox theater.”

Photo Credit: Disney (The New York Times)

Source: CNBC

Jeah Lorraine Adams has been a writer for the past two decades. She is also a mom of two.

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