Avatar: The Way of Water’s massive 3D opening box office haul arrive, indicating James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel could revive the format.
With the first film having already mastered the format, Avatar: The Way of Water’s massive 3D box office haul indicate the sequel is continuing the trend. After over a decade of keeping audiences on their heels for a return to the alien world of Pandora, James Cameron has brought viewers back in the newly released sequel, which picks back up with Sam Worthington’s Jake, Zoe Saldaña’s Neytiri and their family as they are forced to relocate to the oceanic region of the planet after the RDA return to continue trying to mine the planet. While falling short of its predecessor’s reviews, Avatar: The Way of Water has scored well with critics and audiences alike, which seems to be translating to its box office.
As the opening weekend comes to a close, RealD have revealed the details of Avatar: The Way of Water’s massive 3D box office haul. The company revealed that of the Cameron sequel’s estimated $435 million haul, 66 percent of that came from 3D showings, with 99 percent of audiences in the Middle Kingdom purchasing tickets for said format while 58 percent of North American viewers took to the immersive showings. Travis Reid, RealD’s CEO and President of Cinema, wrote about the opening in the following statement:
Just as the original Avatar did, Avatar: The Way of Water has set a new benchmark for the current 3D marketplace. James Cameron and his team have shown what is artistically, creatively, and commercially possible when you have filmmakers completely committed to immersing audiences in this 3D world and the result is visually mind-blowing. We expect to continue to see strong 3D results worldwide through the holiday and new year.
Could Avatar 2 Revive The 3D Format?
As Reid notes, the original Avatar movie was not only revolutionary in its motion capture effects for its Na’Vi characters, but more importantly in helping revitalize the 3D format. All films released in 3D in 2009 grossed a combined $1.3 billion, which accounted for more than 10 percent of the year’s total box office and a threefold increase from the prior year. With a reported $1.35 billion grossed in 3D showings across its multiple releases, Avatar currently sits as the highest-grossing 3D release to date, and helped bring back the trend in films, including the 2010 Clash of the Titans remake, which also starred Worthington, the 2012 3D re-releases of Cameron’s own Titanic and Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.
The question now becomes, however, whether Avatar: The Way of Water’s major 3D opening box office haul will translate into helping revitalize the format once again. Unlike the years before the original film, 3D releases have continued over the past decade, though their popularity has greatly waned in the time since, with such films as 2012’s Dredd largely underperforming, in spite of its modest $30-45 million production budget and good reviews. Considering the sheer visual scale expected of the Avatar movies, it was already expected its 3D box office numbers would be strong, though for the majority of its opening weekend to come from said format is a pretty promising sign audiences are still interested in it.
However, there are some still doubting Avatar: The Way of Water’s box office legs, considering its reported $435 million opening weekend to be a sluggish start for a film produced on such a large budget. But, considering the sequel has already nearly doubled the original Avatar’s opening box office weekend haul, the holiday season and early new year will be the key to determining both the future of the franchise and the 3D format. Audiences can decide for themselves with Avatar: The Way of Water now in theaters.