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‘Avatar’ returns to theaters as Disney tries to hype audiences for its long-delayed sequel


Supply: Walt Disney Studios

The Na’vi return to the large display screen 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 Method of Water.”

Bringing the highest-grossing movie of all time again to theaters has two functions for Disney: drum up pleasure for “The Method 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 kind of litmus take a look at for whether or not audiences nonetheless need 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 should keep in mind that James Cameron has been doubted earlier than and confirmed many mistaken,” stated Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at

Directed by Cameron, the mastermind behind “Titanic” and “The Terminator,” “Avatar” opened in late 2009 to huge acclaim and large monetary success, ultimately 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 change into few and much between.

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

“Avatar” captivated audiences greater than a decade in the past, partly due to the know-how 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 digicam system.

Earlier methods used two cameras as a result of filmmakers had decided that the human mind processed totally different data 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 Method of Water” tells the story of the Sully household.


Cameron and Tempo devised a digicam that would seize pictures the identical manner {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 extra ticket gross sales all through the years via 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 bought for the movie have been for 3D showings, which are typically dearer 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 significant driver for the enterprise now and going ahead, however 3D’s recognition in North America waned shortly within the years after the primary ‘Avatar’s’ unique launch,” Robbins stated. “With very uncommon exceptions, 3D merely started to show off many moviegoers for a wide range 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. Lots of the 3D releases have been conversions of flicks that weren’t properly fitted 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 in style 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 traces for this distribution plan, it looks as if Disney and 20th Century Studios are gauging the state of 3D’s branding and so they could use the box-office outcomes to tell how ‘The Method of Water’ is dealt with,” Robbins stated. “Whereas Cameron will need to push the 3D model for followers who need 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 change into 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 can be “large.” It is also going through stiff competitors from the historic motion epic “The Lady King,” which had a powerful opening this previous weekend and could possibly be primed for an extended, profitable run on the field workplace.

“It might be an enormous understatement to say that there’s a lot driving on the ‘Avatar’ model and with a minimum of three extra filmed installments on the way in which,” Dergarabedian stated. “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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