James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water has landed a coveted release in China, becoming one of the few Hollywood movies given a theatrical release after the pandemic. The long-awaited Avatar sequel will hit theaters in both China and North America on December 16. Thirteen years after the original film’s release and following weeks of talk about the possibility of its Chinese release, the fantasy-adventure sequel will appear in theaters across the nation, including in IMAX theaters. The news was reported in China on Disney’s official Weibo social media account. The Way of Water will be one of the only Hollywood movies to be given a theatrical release in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with many movies over the last couple of years — particularly recent Marvel film releases — being sidelined.
The original Avatar has been highly successful in China and across the world, with hopes the sequel will share the same popularity. Avatar has been released several times in China since its release in 2009. The film has brought in $261.8 million over the years from Chinese audiences alone — including almost $58 million from its 2021 re-release. This has helped the movie become the top-grossing film of all time with its ability to bring in more than $2.92 billion in ticket sales (excluding inflation adjustments and including re-releases).
Getting a theatrical release in China should help Cameron make box office history yet again against the film’s hefty budget. Previously, he told GQ he’s confident the film will deliver, though given the high budget for the film — which is yet to be disclosed to the public — the film will need to be one of the highest-grossing films of all time just to break even. “If I can make a business case to spend a billion dollars on a movie, I will fucking do it. Do you want to know why? Because we don’t put it all on a pile and light it on fire. We give it to people,” Cameron said.
Avatar: The Way of Water, set to clock in at over three hours running time, will continue Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña)’s love story ten years after the events of the first film. The sequel will introduce viewers to the couple’s children, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuktirey (Trinity Bliss), and Kirk (Sigourney Weaver) as the family leave their rainforest haven for an ocean-dwelling and prepare for an oncoming war. The film will also star Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Kate Winslet as Ronal, Cliff Curtis as Tonowari, and Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet. The Cameron and Jon Landau-produced film will be released in theaters in December with tickets now on sale.
Avatar: The Way of Water will be released in theaters on December 16, 2022.