Media And Entertainment
"Avatar: The Way of Water" made waves at the box office, but lingering concerns about the coronavirus dampened ticket sales in China, where the film's producers had hoped for a major success.
The film, directed by James Cameron and distributed by Walt Disney Co.'s 20th Century Studios, opened to $435 million in theaters worldwide, the second-highest global opening-weekend gross of 2022, trailing only Disney's Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
The $134 million in domestic opening-weekend ticket sales was Cameron's best box-office debut, but it fell short of tracking estimates based on advance ticket sales, which predicted the film would earn between $150 million and $175 million in North America.
The film, which was shot in 3-D and shown on more than 1,500 IMAX screens worldwide, earned $57.1 million in China, a disappointing result according to Disney, especially when compared to the first film in the franchise's success in China.
The "Avatar" sequel signifies Disney's crucial return to China, where government authorities have denied the company permission to release any of its Marvel superhero films, the company's most reliable and profitable theatrical releases, since 2019.
Jake Sully, portrayed by Sam Worthington in the new "Avatar" film, is a human who has assumed the body of a warrior leader of the Na'vi, a race of giant, blue forest dwellers from the fictional moon-world of Pandora. He flees to the ocean to protect his family from earthlings who seek to kill him and plunder Pandora's resources.