Despite James Cameron revealing that they have a plan in place in case Avatar: The Way of Water is a box office bomb, the financial success of the film just got as close to a guarantee for its success as a blockbuster can in the modern era. According to Variety, 20th Century Studios confirmed on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo that the highly anticipated sequel will be released in China on December 16, the same day that it's release in North America and other territories. Avatar: The Way of Water debuting in China marks one of the few American blockbusters in the past few years to have been released in the territory.
It's worth noting that enthusiasm for Avatar in China goes back as far as the original release of the movie in 2009. When Avatar debuted there at the end of 2009, and played through the first few months of 2010, it became the first movie ever to cross one trillion Yeun (equal to just over $139 million in the US). Avatar would be re-released in movie theaters in China in March of 2021, an attempt to revitalize theaters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and it worked. That re-release of the film would push it back to the #1 All-Time spot at the worldwide box office, giving it a $2.847 billion global total. The film was re-released once again this year ahead of the sequel, bringing its total to just over $2.92 billion around the globe.
What if Avatar 2 bombs?
Considering the amount of time it has taken for the second Avatar movie to get made and released, there's been plenty of speculation and chatter on the interest that audiences will even have for a follow-up. Despite his enthusiasm for the films, even James Cameron had to admit that it was something that has crossed his mind as well. Speaking in a recent issue of Total Film Magazine, the Oscar-winning director confirmed they know what they'll do if Avatar: The Way of Water isn't a hut.
"The market could be telling us we're done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: 'Okay, let's complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,' if it's just not profitable," Cameron revealed. "We're in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even. It's the one-two punch – the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we'll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s*** now?"
Avatar: The Way of Water is set to arrive on December 16, 2022, with Avatar 3 set to debut two years later on December 20, 2024.