In 2009, acclaimed filmmaker James Cameron released an epic sci-fi movie. While it arguably shared the same title as a famous animated series from Nickelodeon, “Avatar” was a different beast of a story, with a lush alien planet, a greedy Earth-based mining operation, and a human soldier using a hybrid-clone avatar based on the natives to interact with them and decide to help them against his superiors. It was the first big-budget blockbuster to break $2 billion globally, until surpassed in 2019 by “Avengers: Endgame.” But a plan to re-release “Avatar” in the world’s biggest movie-going audience could change that.
According to IGN, “Avatar” by James Cameron and the former 20th Century Fox is getting a wide re-release in Chinese cinemas beginning Friday, March 12. This re-release will be in 3D and IMAX 3D, and was approved by the China Film Bureau mere days before the screening date. The bureau in fact called for the re-release of “Avatar” a year ago, March 2020. That was during the spread of COVID-19 worldwide until it was declared a pandemic, but the country was struggling to keep theaters open to preserve a semblance of normalcy. Needless to say, the re-release was put off.
While the suddenness of the re-release means some Chinese cinemas might not be getting their digital packages of “Avatar” for showing by Friday, once the re-release gets going there is a chance it could make some more money. That would be something considering the film is over a decade old now. But China is the world’s biggest box-office market for Hollywood films now, and even with seating limitations there are a lot of theaters in that country. There is a chance this new box-office run could help “Avatar” reclaim its record from “Avengers: Endgame.” And seeing that its original studio is Disney-owned now, that really would not be a problem.
The current box-office record held by “Endgame” is at $2.797 billion, against “Avatar” with $2.790 billion which remained unbeaten for a decade. This Chinese re-release then only needs to make at minimum $7.4 million, and the crown goes back to James Cameron. Seeing as its original 2009 premiere in China made $202.6 million, the regaining of the top all-time box office spot looks very likely. And it would serve as great promotion for the Cameron-directed sequel “Avatar 2,” scheduled for release in December 16, 2022.
Image courtesy of Hollywood Reporter