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Avatar: The Way Of Water

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
One thing I’m going to predict going forward is that Avatar 4 & 5 will 100% happen given the commercial success of this movie and also the fact that a lot of the reasons TWOW's budget was so high was due to advancements in technology.

But most of all, it will happen because Disney does not own Avatar. They own the distribution rights, yes. However, James Cameron owns Avatar just like he would own Terminator had he owned Lightstorm and had as big of a name for himself back in the early 80's as he did when he pitched Avatar to Fox. James Cameron owns most of his catalog, including being the sole production company on T2 and one of two production companies on Avatar 2. The second is not 20th Century, meaning that Disney will potentially need to pay Cameron in order for it to stream on Disney+ since they don't own the film in any way.

Them not owning the IP is why 4 & 5 will get green lit by Disney. If Disney doesn't green light them, someone else will and Disney isn't going to want to let the franchise go as they would be at risk of losing the entire franchise from their arsenal. It's kind of like when they bought LucasFilm, but that only got them so far as it didn't get them ownership of the original trilogy or the prequel trilogy until they bought out Fox. I wonder if Disney will try and purchase Lightstorm from Cameron eventually, although I doubt he would sell.
 

Ron101

Contributing Member
Apr 9, 2018
964
California
One thing I’m going to predict going forward is that Avatar 4 & 5 will 100% happen given the commercial success of this movie and also the fact that a lot of the reasons TWOW's budget was so high was due to advancements in technology.

But most of all, it will happen because Disney does not own Avatar. They own the distribution rights, yes. However, James Cameron owns Avatar just like he would own Terminator had he owned Lightstorm and had as big of a name for himself back in the early 80's as he did when he pitched Avatar to Fox. James Cameron owns most of his catalog, including being the sole production company on T2 and one of two production companies on Avatar 2. The second is not 20th Century, meaning that Disney will potentially need to pay Cameron in order for it to stream on Disney+ since they don't own the film in any way.

Them not owning the IP is why 4 & 5 will get green lit by Disney. If Disney doesn't green light them, someone else will and Disney isn't going to want to let the franchise go as they would be at risk of losing the entire franchise from their arsenal. It's kind of like when they bought LucasFilm, but that only got them so far as it didn't get them ownership of the original trilogy or the prequel trilogy until they bought out Fox. I wonder if Disney will try and purchase Lightstorm from Cameron eventually, although I doubt he would sell.
To add on to the Lucasfilm purchase, they also don't own distribution rights to the first 4 Indiana jones films. Those are held by Paramount
 

Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
To add on to the Lucasfilm purchase, they also don't own distribution rights to the first 4 Indiana jones films. Those are held by Paramount
To add on to what you are saying, they don't own a lot of the LucasFilm catalog. They don't own American Graffiti (Universal), Indy 1-4 (Paramount), nor do they own Willow (MGM). Where it differentiates is that they own those IPs, as LucasFilm was the production company on those projects and the studios were just the distributor. So Disney can do whatever they want (and mostly are) with Indy, Willow and could even remake American Graffiti if they wanted.

20th Century was a production company along with distributor of the original Avatar (Lightstorm also was a Production company on Avatar), so they will always own that film, but so will Cameron. However, as I said, they are not a production company on The Way of Water and I assume they won't be on 3-5 either and will just be distributors. If another studios really wanted to make a play, they could come in and make Cameron an offer he can't refuse for Lightstorm in a few years (After Avatar 3 or so) and they could in turn do whatever the hell they want with almost any James Cameron associated film including two franchises he created (Terminator and Avatar) along with True Lies, Titanic, Alita: Battle Angel, The Abyss, Strange Days, and Solaris.

I got really sidetracked with all of this, but the original point was if Disney doesn't make Avatar 4 & 5, someone else likely will as Cameron could just shop around to find funding from another studio.
 
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Nick

Staff member
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Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
From the article:
“It looks like with the momentum that the film has now that we’ll easily pass our break even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this and I’m gonna have to do these other sequels,” Cameron said. “I know what I’m going to be doing the next six or seven years.”

Cameron added about the film turning a profit, “The point is we’re going to be okay. I’m sure that we’ll have a discussion soon with with the top folks at Disney about the game plan going forward for ‘Avatar 3,’ which is already in the can – we’ve already captured and photographed the whole film, so we’re in extended post-production to do all that CG magic. And then ‘Avatar 4’ and ‘5’ are both written. We even have some of ‘4’ in the can. We’ve begun a franchise at this point. We’ve begun a saga that can now play out over multiple films.”


Love the humility shown here by Cameron. 'Oh shucks, my movies keep making $2 Billion, looks like i'm gonna have to make 2 more movies on top of the sequel we've already made! Whatever will I do with all this money I keep making!' :lol:

 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
After this weekend, The Way of Water is on track to pass NWH at the Worldwide box office within the next week (especially with it being a 4-day weekend next week), and $2B is pretty much a sure thing at this point and it's almost more about how high it ultimately climbs than anything with it already at $1.7B.

I think it passes Infinity War, The Force Awakens, and Titanic within the $2 billion club (so basically that's me saying I think it'll do at least 2.2B+). Domestically, I think it has a chance to reach Maverick at $718M, although it really depends how patient Disney is in terms of keeping the movie in theaters as opposed to taking it out to go to streaming/on demand. If current pace holds (specifically internationally), many are setting their sights around $720M/$2.4B for the movie. It's run in China based on its current contract comes to an end after next weekend. Something that would certainly help people feel more confident in those predictions is if the movie gets an extension to continue playing in the country.


This one is very interesting and with less movies in the marketplace since the dawn of a million streaming services/COVID, one wonders if the few movies that do breakthrough as bonafide hits in theaters are more likely now to play more like they used to many years ago and be extremely leggy since they are one of the only options in town.

And an updated comparison chart.
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
Up to $1.903B currently globally and should pass No Way Home sometime tomorrow (NWH sits at $1.916B). I think $2.25 is probably the best the film is looking at finishing, although I do think it will get to $2.2B or very close if not surpassing the mark.

The interesting thing there is that The Way Of Water could finish #3 on the All-Time Worldwide list Behind Avatar and Avengers: Endgame, and just ahead of Titanic. However, Titanic has a 4K 25th anniversary re-release in February, so I can see a situation where TWOW passes Titanic to get up to #3 and then Titanic passes it right back if it's close between the two.
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
Avatar: TWOW passed $2B WW and will pass $600M domestic tomorrow. This gives Cameron ownership of half of the $2B club and three consecutive $2B releases and it give Zoe Saldana actor credits in FOUR of the six $2B movies. The film will pass Infinity War before the end of the week and will pass The Force Awakens shortly after. It's still possible it may catch up to Titanic's current total, but with that film getting a Valentines day re-release worldwide, it's not looking likely that it will wind up ahead of it.

Also of note, Avatar 2 became the first film in over a decade to lead at the box office for six consecutive weekend and it'll pick up its seventh (and final) consecutive weekend next weekend. The last time a film led for that many weeks was.... James Cameron's Avatar in 2009-2010 (7 consecutive). Before Avatar, a film hadn't led for six consecutive weeks since, you guessed it, James Cameron's Titanic back in 1997-98, which led for 15 weeks.


 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
That didn't age well :)
Not to toot my own horn, but here was my response to that post:
The box office is recovering for big films and by December it should be pretty much fully back. But I again go back to the point that Avatar made over $2B internationally. Even if that drops off by half or a little more, we're still talking about almost $1B just from international markets and I can easily see $500M domestic at the least.

Also, remember, it will be playing over the Holiday weeks, which is what propelled the original Avatar and latest Spider-Man: No Way Home to big box office numbers.
Go to the first page of the thread, lots of takes that didn’t age well. This one for example from May 2019:

Placing bets now that after Avatar 2 the rest are a miniseries on Disney+
Love ya @Joe! :grin:
 
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Jamesh22

Premium Member
Mar 13, 2018
1,508
How do we think the break between 1 and 2 has played here? Has it driven more demand? Will the shorter gap to the next entry (2 years) mean it doesn't make as much as Avatar 2? I'm curious.
 

belloq87

Veteran Member
Dec 7, 2009
6,290
Universal Exports
How do we think the break between 1 and 2 has played here? Has it driven more demand? Will the shorter gap to the next entry (2 years) mean it doesn't make as much as Avatar 2? I'm curious.
I think it depends on how good the third movie is, but all other things being equal, I would expect it to come in under THE WAY OF WATER (while still making a ton of money).

That said, Cameron seems aware that the third movie needs to be more than just "more of the same," and he's been saying some pretty intriguing things about where the story is going. So if 3 really ups the ante, perhaps it could top WAY OF WATER.
 
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Nick

Staff member
Moderator
Sep 22, 2011
28,184
Orlando
How do we think the break between 1 and 2 has played here? Has it driven more demand? Will the shorter gap to the next entry (2 years) mean it doesn't make as much as Avatar 2? I'm curious.
I do think it helped and with Avatar 2, Cameron was able to add another thing to entice people to see it in a premium format with the movie being in HFR this time around. Worldwide, the movie has made over $1B of its total from 3D formats alone when 3D was supposedly a dead format. I think with the movie being 13 years old, you had a mix of people who were nostalgic for the original film and then people who were wowed by the visuals/3D in the movie with it being their first time seeing an Avatar movie in a theater.

The second movie only being two years apart could help it or hurt it financially. I don't think it will be another $2B earner, but I do think as long as overseas grosses stay high, it's a guaranteed $1B movie again (and Avatar 2 included most of the Avatar 3 production costs) with a high likelihood of it passing $1.5B. I also think this movie has helped by giving the audience new characters like Kiri, Lo'ak, and Spider that people are connecting with a lot more and it's helping to build a true fandom and people caring what happens to those characters.

I don't think this will 100% for sure be like the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy where box office goes down substantially every time. That happened because fans were let down and had their expectations subverted with The Last Jedi and then Rise of the Skywalker was just a mess of a movie (and it still made over $1B). If the movies remain fun action movies to watch in theaters, then I honestly think the sequels will do fine and won't see a substantial drop. If a movie ends up just being bad or doesn't live up to expectations, then that's when box office could drop off a cliff. This is a franchise that isn't appealing to a specific fandom however, but more the general populace. It's the ultimate "normie" blockbuster franchise. The type of person that goes to the movies once per year and probably isn't on twitter is a target audience here.

It's also worth mention that Avatar 3 has room to grow overseas with Russia out of the picture for TWOW, a region where it made $116M with the first film. Who knows if Hollywood movies will ever come back to Russia, but if the war ends and they try to make peace, it's possible you could see Avatar 3 play there. Just speculating. Also, Avatar 2 massively has underperformed in Japan due to HFR apparently crashing theaters in the region. Avatar 2 has only mad $28M in Japan whereas the first film made $170.6M. It'll definitely be interesting how 3 plays out.