James Cameron’s Avatar has been removed from Disney+ just one month before the movie gets a theatrical re-release. Avatar’s re-released is being pushed by Disney to increase the hype surrounding Avatar: The Way of Water, a sequel that remained in development for over a decade and is, at last, coming to theaters this December.
So far, Disney+ subscribers could watch Cameron’s otherworldly adventure as many times as they wanted from the comfort of their couches. Unfortunately, if you were waiting until the last minute before rewatching Avatar ahead of The Way of Water, the movie is no longer available. Removing the classic is probably motivated by its re-release, as not having the film available for streaming can convince more people to go to theaters.
Avatar made history in 2009 by becoming the first movie to cross the $2.8 billion mark at the international box office, taking over Titanic‘s position as the biggest release ever, with $2.2 billion. Avatar still holds the global crown, but since then lost a few positions in the domestic ranking to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. So, it’s easy to understand why Disney is expecting The Way of Water to become another huge box office success and trying to squeeze some more bucks off the first movie. Even so, removing Avatar from Disney+ comes off as a shady move, especially since Disney didn’t give subscribers any kind of warning.
The Way of Water also sees the return of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, CCH Pounder, and Matt Gerald. Sigourney Weaver is also set to come back, although in a different role. New cast additions for Avatar: The Way of Water include Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Brendan Cowell, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel, and CJ Jones. Cameron wrote the script for Avatar: The Way of Water together with Josh Friedman. Cameron is also producing the sequel with Jon Landau, who co-wrote the script for the first film in the franchise.
Cameron shot a third untitled Avatar movie back to back with Avatar: The Way of Water, while also writing the stories for the fourth and fifth films. All four Avatar sequels are part of one big story Cameron wants to tell, but since the fourth and fifth movies haven’t gone into production yet, their fate depends on the success of Avatar: The Way of Water.
Avatar: The Way of Water comes to theaters on December 16. The Avatar re-release is set for September 23. There’s still no word if and when Avatar will go back to Disney+. So, for now, you better get your tickets for the re-release.