‘Avatar’ returns to theaters as Disney hypes James Cameron’s long-delayed sequel




Supply: Walt Disney Studios

The Na’vi return to the massive display this weekend as Disney appears to be like to reignite curiosity in its newly acquired Avatar franchise, three months earlier than the debut of the long-delayed sequel, “Avatar: The Manner of Water.”

Bringing the highest-grossing movie of all time again to theaters has two functions for Disney: drum up pleasure for “The Manner of Water” and fill a vacant spot on the theatrical calendar. The sequel is considered one of 4 due over the following decade.

The rerelease of the unique movie is a form of litmus check for whether or not audiences nonetheless wish to go to its eco-conscious science fiction world.

“Many questions have been requested in regards to the movie’s popular culture legacy over the previous decade, however we additionally must do not forget that James Cameron has been doubted earlier than and confirmed many fallacious,” mentioned Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

Directed by Cameron, the mastermind behind “Titanic” and “The Terminator,” “Avatar” opened in late 2009 to broad acclaim and big monetary success, finally incomes 9 Oscar nominations. But it surely by no means captured the cultural relevance that Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe – each additionally owned by Disney – have loved. Toy gross sales fizzled and cosplayers donning heavy blue make-up at popular culture fan conventions have grow to be few and much between.

“Naturally all eyes can be on the field workplace efficiency this weekend, as this may occasionally function an indicator of viewers curiosity within the December launch of ‘The Manner of Water,'” mentioned Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.

“Avatar” captivated audiences greater than a decade in the past, partly due to the expertise that Cameron helped develop to movie and animate the film. The movie was shot utilizing the Fusion Digicam System, which was created by Cameron and cinematographer Vince Tempo. Academy Award-nominated movies like Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and Ang Lee’s “Lifetime of Pi” additionally utilized this digital camera system.

Earlier methods used two cameras as a result of filmmakers had decided that the human mind processed totally different info from totally different sides of the mind. So, one a part of the mind would course of the picture’s motion, whereas the opposite would course of what was taking place within the picture.

Set greater than a decade after the occasions of the primary movie, “Avatar: The Manner of Water” tells the story of the Sully household.


Cameron and Tempo devised a digital camera that would seize pictures the identical means {that a} human eye does. The outcomes have been breathtaking — simply have a look at the ticket gross sales.

Throughout its preliminary run, “Avatar” snared $2.78 billion globally. It added further ticket gross sales all through the years by way of rereleases, and reclaimed the box-office crown from “Avengers: Endgame” in 2021 when it was redistributed in China, topping $2.84 billion.

The vast majority of tickets offered for the movie have been for 3D showings, which are typically costlier than common tickets. These premium tickets alongside, an prolonged nine-month run in theaters, helped bolster “Avatar’s” whole box-office haul.

“We all know that IMAX and different [premium format] screens are a serious driver for the enterprise now and going ahead, however 3D’s reputation in North America waned rapidly within the years after the primary ‘Avatar’s’ unique launch,” Robbins mentioned. “With very uncommon exceptions, 3D merely started to show off many moviegoers for quite a lot of causes — a few of which filmmakers can management, however not all.”

This “3D gold rush” within the wake of “Avatar,” as Dergarabedian calls it, led to an oversaturation of the market. Most of the 3D releases have been conversions of flicks that weren’t nicely suited to the format and, thus, high quality declined and so did curiosity from audiences.

Whereas 3D movies have fallen out of favor with home audiences, they continue to be exceptionally widespread internationally – particularly in China. Certainly, “Avatar” made the majority of its cash outdoors of the U.S. — a whopping $2.08 billion.

“If I am studying between the strains for this distribution plan, it looks like Disney and twentieth Century Studios are gauging the state of 3D’s branding and so they might use the box-office outcomes to tell how ‘The Manner of Water’ is dealt with,” Robbins mentioned. “Whereas Cameron will wish to push the 3D model for followers who wish to see it the way in which he filmed it for, it is also arduous to disregard the very massive viewers on the market who has by no means grow to be as enamored with the format as they’ve with different 2D premium viewing choices.”

Present estimates for the movie’s rerelease vary from $7 million to $12 million, with box-office analysts saying a determine within the mid-teens could be “enormous.” It is also dealing with stiff competitors from the historic motion epic “The Lady King,” which had a strong opening this past weekend and may very well be primed for a protracted, profitable run on the field workplace.

“It might be a large understatement to say that there’s a lot using on the ‘Avatar’ model and with a minimum of three extra filmed installments on the way in which,” Dergarabedian mentioned. “The rerelease of the unique this weekend would be the linchpin for what the longer term holds for the universe of Pandora and past.”

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