Moviegoers are pretty excited to return to Pandora.
“Avatar: The Way of Water,” James Cameron’s next epic adventure, is poised to gross at least $150 million domestically when it hits theaters this December. Early tracking indicates the opening weekend figure could climb even higher, to $175 million or more. “Avatar: The Way of Water” has been in the works for years, with Cameron blow past various deadlines and release dates with his drive to push technology and cinematic gadgetry to the limit.
The first “Avatar” opened in 2009 for $77 million (it’s worth noting, though, that there are there was a big blizzard in the US that weekend, which muffled grosses). It just kept building and building and became a blockbuster thanks to its innovative use of 3D. “Avatar” eventually grossed $2.7 billion worldwide. That figure will be hard to match post-COVID as the box office still struggles to recover and major markets like Russia closed to Hollywood.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” got a boost this week when it was announced that it would open in China at the same time. That market was difficult for studios to penetrate. Government regulators have given Hollywood movies unsavory release dates in recent years in an effort to grow the country’s movie economy and political tensions with the US have increased
Cameron made it clear that “Avatar 2” has a hefty price tag, so it needs all the help it can get. In an interview with GQ, Cameron called it “the worst business case in movie history” and said, “You have to be the third or fourth highest grossing movie in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.”
“Avatar: The Way of Water” will attempt to cross that threshold when it hits theaters on December 16.