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Avatar: The Way Of Water Starts Strong In China

The original 2009 film "Avatar" has some fairly universal themes with a sympathetic story of beings known as Na'vi being crushed under the heel of an oppressive organization that seeks to exploit. In addition to this easy-to-understand plot, "Avatar" boasts some truly impressive visuals that saturate many scenes with dazzling colors, pulsating lights, and absolutely fantastic landscapes involving floating mountains, reactive plants, and fascinating creatures that defy expectations. In other words, "Avatar" is entertaining, no matter where you are on this planet.

"Avatar" proved to be one of the most successful movies of all time. According to The Numbers, "Avatar" had a production budget of $237 million, and its original opening earned around $77 million. However, this was before word of mouth really began to swirl around the movie, and it later went on to make around $785 million in the United States. These numbers were buoyed even more by the international market, which led "Avatar" to become the highest-grossing global movie of all time at $2.8 billion — a record that the movie still maintains to this day.

The first Avatar film was a huge success in China

In 2009 and 2010, "Avatar" proved to be a huge hit in China, becoming a cultural phenomenon. As noted by Henry Jenkins, Chinese citizens would camp out for a chance to see "Avatar," and tickets would often be resold for $60. "Avatar" made over a billion dollars in China, and that is actually a higher take than the United States domestic market. Surprisingly, when the Chinese government wanted to pull the regular 2D version of "Avatar" from the theaters to make room for the film "Confucius," fans organized a boycott to block the action — a rare sign of organized resistance and contrary opinion for the normally restrictive country.

Even now, the original "Avatar" maintains its status in China. The re-release of "Avatar" earlier this year in China earned well over $40 million (via Forbes). This is a surprising amount of money for a movie that is over 10 years old, and it highlights just how much the Chinese love James Cameron's "Avatar." To put things in perspective, Collider shows that when "Avatar" was re-released in the United States, it only made $15 million. Considering these facts, Hollywood is probably banking on a significant haul from the Chinese markets when it comes to the total take for "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Avatar: The Way of Water is on track for an impressive Chinese opening

So what is the future looking like for "Avatar: The Way of Water" in China? Well, it is looking pretty good so far, at least according to the Hollywood Reporter. Their reporting shows that the sequel to "Avatar" has already made $15.2 million as of 12 p.m. Friday local time. This is a fairly impressive result, and it is projected that the weekend take for "Avatar: The Way of Water" in China should be around $119 to $128 million.

If "The Way of Water" makes what it is being projected to do so, it will make it the most successful opening weekend for an American movie in 2022 China. As reported by Box Office Mojo, the biggest weekend for an American movie in China this year was in June with "Jurassic World: Dominion," which made $55 million. Since "Avatar: The Way of Water" is set to make at least double that, it will be interesting to see where the movie ends up in the grand scope of things. Will it make more money than the original "Avatar?" Only time will tell, but at least one thing is for certain — how well the movie does globally definitely depends on how well the Chinese markets converge on this latest adventure in Pandora.