'Avatar's Re-Release in China Is Cleaning Up at the Box Office

'Avatar'Credit: 20th Century Fox
Jake Sully has conquered the box office once again. 

It was only two years ago when Avatar left the top of the box office and yielded to Avengers: Endgame. But in the pandemic, with no new movies being released, Avatar returned to the box office in China to rather surprising results. 

Avatar's numbers have been staggering within China. In the second weekend of its re-release, the blockbuster added $14 million, falling only 33% from the $21 million it made last weekend.

The James Cameron film has grossed $44 million in 10 days. That's enough to put it back at #1 at the worldwide box office all time, sitting at $2,833,679,794. To put this into perspective, a new release like Disney's Mulan only made $41 million at the Chinese box office. 

Since the start of the pandemic, only Tenet ($60 million) and Soul ($57 million) have made more money in China than Avatar, and depending on how well the rerelease goes, they're not that far out of reach. 

Why is this happening? Well, Avatar is one of the most beloved movies in China. On the country's version on IMDb, Maoyan, it was scored a 9.3/10. A lot of this jump can be attributed to just the need for content during a pandemic year without many new releases.

I was reminded of a 2010 article about how Chinese audiences embraced Avatar

Within that article, the author wrote, "Since its launch, Avatar has developed a huge enthusiastic fan base in China. Although Chinese fans are not exposed to as much media products as Americans because of the unequal international distribution, they are very active in learning and understanding what's happening with the movie. Internet and new technologies provide them a medium to participate in the media production and distribute their work online. They collect and circulate information, participate in the discussion, and create their own works to contribute to the Avatar community. It is a great representation of creativity and self-expression."

This seems like solid reasoning. The movie hit the audience's hearts, and while it's been over a decade since its release, that audience has grown with the movie and is eager to relive it. This also speaks a lot to Disney's willingness to greenlight so many more Avatar films. 

The Chinese market is excellent for American movies. You have to think they assume Avatar 2-5 could be just as lucrative there. Perhaps more so. Time will tell, but it's interesting to see Cameron's film climb its way back to relevancy atop the market.       

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Your Comment


Actually, some Chinese films had bigger box office since the pandemic started. For example, “Hi, mom” was released during Chinese New Year and is still showing in the cinema with a total of $80 millions.

March 25, 2021 at 7:27AM

Matthieu Laclau

Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least one Chinese film had bigger box office than Tenet: “Hi, mom”, released during Chinese New Year, already made $81 millions and is still showing in the cinema.
I also recently read (to be verified) that the director Jia Ling became the female director with the bigger box office worldwide.

March 25, 2021 at 3:07PM

Matthieu Laclau