The sequel to “Avatar” will 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 box office, grossing over $260 million.
  • Director James Cameron says the sequel should be one of the highest-grossing films ever.

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

Chinese film officials approved the film’s release in the world’s second-largest movie market on Dec. 16, the same day it will open worldwide, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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

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

That would mean it needs to earn at least $2.07 billion to surpass the current No. 4 film of all time, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

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

China should be a substantial market for “The Way of Water”. The first film grossed $262 million there, including nearly $60 million from a re-release last year that showed there’s still interest in the property in the region.

Hollywood releases have otherwise been minimal in China during the pandemic as China’s film administration tries 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 a given year.

China overtook North America as the world’s biggest movie market in 2020 and 2021 as US theaters struggled to recover from the pandemic. It was largely thanks to locally produced films such as “The Battle at Lake Changjin” and “Hi, Mom,” the second and third biggest films in the world last year.

The Chinese release crackdown on foreign releases has resulted in the last seven Marvel Cinematic Universe films being blocked from entering the region, largely due to cultural and political sensitivities, including the most recent “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

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