Avatar: The Way Of Water has secured a theatrical release in China, which may provide a crucial box office boost to James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel.
Chinese authorities notified the Walt Disney Company that the big budget feature will receive a release in China on December 16, the same day it is set to be released worldwide.
It will be distributed by Disney-owned 20th Century Studios, which confirmed the release through a post on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo.
It will mark one of the few Hollywood tentpole releases in China since the start of the pandemic, with Jurassic Park Dominon as the only US feature in the country’s top 10 box office of 2022 to date, ranking seventh with takings of $148m (RMB1.06bn).
The release should also provide a box office boost to The Way Of Water, which Cameron said would need to “be the third of fourth highest-grossing film in history” to just “break even”, in a recent interview with GQ. The budget of the film has not been revealed but is understood to be around $250m.
Sci-fi epic Avatar, which was released in 2009, grossed nearly $2.9bn worldwide, with $240m (RMB1.7bn) coming from China, combining takings from its January 2010 release in the territory and a re-release in March 2021. Avatar reclaimed the top spot as the highest grossing film of all time following a further re-release in September 2022, just edging out Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame.
US studios have struggled to secure theatrical releases in China in recent years, with several superhero films produced by Disney-owned Marvel Studios overlooked. The last Marvel title to receive a theatrical release in China was 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, with a haul of more than $200m taking its worldwide box office total to $1.1bn.