“Avatar: The Way Of Water” Could Save China’s Movie Theatres

Avatar:Thirteen years after the original “Avatar” film’s explosive success in China, James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” receives its Chinese premiere. It is anticipated to boost the world’s second-largest film business, which has been hurt by the nation’s strict zero-Covid policy. The awaited sequel made its mainland China debut on Friday, the same day it was released internationally.

In recent years, Beijing has already imposed stricter censorship on US-related information and banned some Hollywood movies. “The Way of Water” broke the opening day box office record for an international picture in China this year by earning 104 million yuan ($15 million) by Friday afternoon.

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The sequel is the most eagerly anticipated movie of 2022, according to more than 1.4 million users of the ticketing service Maoyan. Before Friday, it broke the previous record for advance ticket sales, surpassing “The Battle at Lake Changjin II,” the year’s top box office performer thus far.

“When the first Avatar came out, I had just started junior high school… Nissi Hu, a native of Dalian in northern China, told CNN, “I remember that it was the first time I viewed a 3D movie, and I was extremely stunned by the spectacular effects.

She wore protective clothes and an N95 mask and sprayed alcohol on her body and hands while attending the movie on Friday because she was worried about contracting Covid at the theatre.



The three-hour screening made wearing the protective gear feel oppressive. She admitted I didn’t feel bored, adding, “My 3D glasses were coated in fog, and so I covertly opened the protective suit a little. I became utterly engrossed in the story and relished an exceptional audio-visual feast.

Shot In The Arm

It is anticipated that “Way of Water” will boost China’s pandemic-impacted box office. Numerous theatres have had to halt operations for the past three years, reopen when things were better, and then close again.

Many of them went bankrupt as a result of the unpredictability. China’s box office barely hit 28.8 billion yuan ($4.1 billion) by mid-December, a decrease of over 40% from the previous year.

The nation now boasts more than 12,000 movie theatres. A cinema manager in the eastern city of Jinan was cited as stating, “It’s a lifesaver for us,” late last month by the state-owned National Business Daily.

The premiere occurs as China emerges after years of forceful lockdowns and encirclements. China’s oppressive zero-Covid policy was partially abolished earlier this month due to a rare wave of nationwide demonstrations against pandemic restrictions.

Movie theatres started to operate as cities lowered their curbs. 75% of the nation’s cinemas, or 9,300, were open for business on Friday, according to data gathered by Maoyan.


The increase from two weeks earlier is 100%. Analysts predict that the sequel will draw millions of fans back to the movies, and they predict that it will likely become China’s biggest-ever foreign release.

According to China Securities, a brokerage firm located in Beijing, the film is expected to gross 5 billion yuan ($717 million) at the Chinese box office and draw 80 to 120 million viewers.

With that amount, “The Way of Water” would surpass “Avengers: Endgame” as China’s top foreign movie. Nearly a quarter of the Avengers sequel’s worldwide revenue ($610 million) was made in China in 2019.

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Covid Fears

However, Covid might prevent the movie from breaking any box office records. Many theatres across the nation still want a negative test result.

Numerous residents have remained at home due to the disease’s rapid spread. People are very eager to see Avatar 2 according to the high pre-sales data, according to experts from Hangzhou-based Zheshang Securities.

But there’s a chance that they might decide against going to the movies out of concern about catching the illness. According to the state media site Paper.

Cn, the initial Avatar’s 2010 Chinese mainland debut sparked a frenzy and resulted in months of ticket shortages. For 11 weeks straight, the movie was the top-grossing movie, bringing in $198 million.

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