China will allow ‘Avatar’ sequel in theaters – a key win for a massively expensive film

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Avatar: The Way of Water has been approved to open in China – the second largest film market in the world – on the same day as it opens worldwide in December Wall Street Journal and the Hollywood reporter reports, a big win since many major American releases have been banned in recent years, and director James Cameron said the long-awaited sequel would need to be “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” to break even.

Important facts

Chinese authorities told Disney that the film had been approved for release in the country, according to people familiar with the matter Diary.

In a Monday interview with GQCameron declined to reveal the cost of making the film, but said it was “really bloody expensive” and called it “the worst business case in film history.”

The way of the water had a budget of between $350 and $400 million, making it one of the most expensive productions in history, according to the Reporter.

China has historically censored films after high-profile actors and directors made statements about China that the government disagreed with, or when the film contained specific political issues.

Censors in China have not approved the last seven Marvel films that are also Disney films, impacting their overall box office receipts, with Disney citing the lack of a Chinese opening Thor: Love and Thunder‘s box office fights, after the diary.

It’s projected The way of the water will have an opening between $150 and $175 million.

Big number

$2.9 billion. So much avatar since its initial release in 2009, including several re-releases, according to Box Office Mojo. The film has grossed over $785 million in the United States and over $261 million in China, the second-highest grossing region for the film.

What we don’t know

How much will Chinese audiences impact ticket sales post-pandemic? China’s box office receipts have shrunk significantly in recent years due to strict Covid-19 lockdowns and heightened censorship Hollywood reporter lately reported. Only 17 Hollywood films have been released in the country so far this year, compared to 26 at this point in 2019.

key background

avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide, not adjusted for inflation. release of The way of the water starring Sam Worthington, Zoe SaldaƱa, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet had experienced many delays.

What to look out for

Avatar: The Way of Water opens worldwide on December 16th.

Further reading

Box Office: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Lands Coveted Release in China (The Hollywood Reporter)

China allows screening of Disney’s new ‘Avatar’ movie (Wall Street Journal)

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