October 3, 2022
‘Avatar’ returns to theaters as Disney hypes James Cameron’s long-delayed sequel

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Source: Walt Disney Studios

Na’vi is returning to the big screen this weekend, as Disney regains interest in its newly acquired Avatar franchise three months before the debut of the long-delayed sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water.” wants.

Disney has two objectives in bringing the highest-grossing film of all time back to theaters: to fuel excitement for “The Way of Water” and to fill a blank spot on the theatrical calendar. The sequel is one of four in the next decade.

The re-release of the original film is a kind of litmus test of whether audiences still want to delve into its environmentally conscious science fiction world.

Sean Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com, said, “Many questions have been asked about the film’s pop culture legacy over the past decade, but we also need to remember that James Cameron has been suspected before and proven wrong. Has happened.”

Directed by Cameron, the mastermind behind “Titanic” and “The Terminator,” “Avatar” opened in late 2009 to widespread acclaim and massive financial success, eventually earning nine Oscar nominations. But it never captured the cultural relevance that Star Wars or the Marvel Cinematic Universe — both also owned by Disney — have enjoyed. Toy sales have faded and cosplayers wearing heavy blue makeup at pop culture fan conventions have become few and far between.

“Naturally all eyes will be on box office performance this weekend, as this could serve as an indicator of audience interest in the December release of ‘The Way of Water’,” said comScore senior media Analyst Paul Dergarbedian said.

“Avatar” captivated audiences more than a decade ago, partly because of the technology Cameron had helped create and animate the film. The film was shot using the Fusion camera system, created by Cameron and cinematographer Vince Pace. Academy Award-nominated films such as Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” and Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” also used this camera system.

Previous systems used two cameras because filmmakers determined that the human brain processes information from different sides of the brain differently. So, one part of the brain would process the motion of the image, while the other would process what was happening in the image.

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” tells the story of the Sully family.

Disney

Cameron and Pace designed a camera that can capture images in the same way that a human eye does. The results were breathtaking – just look at the ticket sales.

In its initial run, “Avatar” grossed $2.78 billion globally. It added to additional ticket sales throughout the years through rereleases, and reclaimed the box-office crown from “Avengers: Endgame” in 2021, when it was redistributed in China, raising over $2.84 billion. .

Most of the tickets sold for the film were for 3D shows, which tend to be more expensive than regular tickets. These premium tickets, as well as a nine-month run in theaters, helped “Avatar” boost its box-office overall.

“We know that IMAX and other [premium format] “Screens are a major driver for business now and going forward, but the popularity of 3D in North America declined sharply in the years following the original release of the first ‘Avatar’,” Robbins said. “With very rare exceptions, 3D just started turning off many moviegoers for a variety of reasons — some of which filmmakers can control, but not all of them.”

This “3D gold rush” in the wake of “Avatar”, as Dergarbadian calls it, led to an oversaturation of the market. Many of the 3D releases were adaptations of films that were not suitable for the format and, thus, declined in quality and lost audience interest.

While 3D movies have not been out of favor with domestic audiences, they are exceptionally popular internationally – particularly in China. In fact, “Avatar” made most of its money outside the US—a whopping $2.08 billion.

“If I’m reading between the lines for this distribution plan, it looks like Disney and 20th Century Studios are estimating 3D’s branding status and they’re using box-office results to inform that. for how ‘The Way of Water’ is handled,” Robins said. “While Cameron wants to push the 3D version forward for fans who want to watch it the way he filmed it, it’s also hard to ignore the much larger audience that would ever come with other 2D Haven’t enamored of the format. Premium viewing options.”

Current estimates for the film’s re-releases range from $7 million to $12 million, a figure that box-office analysts say would be “huge” in the mid-teens. It is also facing stiff competition from the historical action epic “The Woman King”, which had a strong start last weekend and could have a long, successful run at the box office.

“It would be a great understatement to say that there is a lot riding on the ‘Avatar’ brand and with at least three more filmed installments on the way,” Dergarbadian said. “This weekend’s re-release of the original will be the linchpin for what the future holds for the universe of Pandora and beyond.”

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