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China Box Office: ‘Avatar 2’ Headed for $120M+ Opening Splash

james cameron Avatar: The Path of Water is off to a good start in China despite the great uncertainty surrounding the public health situation in the country.

As of 12:00 local time on Friday, the film had grossed $15.2 million (RMB 106 million), including Thursday night previews, according to regional box office consultancy Artisan Gateway. The firm currently anticipates avatar 2 to end the weekend with an opening gross of $119 million to $128 million (RMB830 million-RMB890 million).

Meanwhile, China’s largest ticketing app Maoyan is projecting the path of water to wrap up its home run with $360 million (RMB 2.51 billion), which would make it the biggest Hollywood film in the country this year by far (more than double Jurassic World: Dominion‘s $157 million in China) and the third-biggest American title of all time in China. But even in the best of times, Maoyan’s comprehensive forecasts — a projection that leverages early sales rates, user ratings, and past title performance trajectories — tend to be subject to significant revision over the next few years. first days of release. Y avatar 2The earnings outlook for is especially difficult to gauge given the uncertainties surrounding the widespread outbreaks of COVID currently sweeping through major cities in China. Artisan Gateway forecasts a wide range for Avatar 2’s run total: $315 million to $415 million (RMB 2.2 billion-RMB 2.9 billion), reflecting the unpredictability of the moment.

China last week announced abrupt changes to its national health response, lifting almost all of the strict “COVID zero” restrictions that had been in place since the early days of the pandemic. Most testing requirements were removed, and the health testing QR code that had been required to enter most public spaces was removed. The sudden turn in policy came in response to growing social unrest over life under endless lockdowns, as well as rising infection rates in many Chinese cities, which some public health experts already believed had made “COVID” unsustainable. zero”.

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At first glance, China’s sudden freedoms of social movement would seem like a boon for movie-going. About 75 percent of Chinese theaters are in operation this weekend, up from less than 50 percent two weeks ago, according to Artisan Gateway estimates. But a rise in COVID-19 infection rates quickly followed the easing, prompting widespread concern and a pattern of voluntary self-isolation among the Chinese public. With most testing suspended, it’s now impossible to get reliable data on how high China’s infection rates have become, but anecdotal evidence in Beijing — reports of overburdened hospitals, businesses hampered by large numbers of absent staff, and streets mostly empty) suggests a potential huge outbreak underway.

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But if there’s one thing that can lure a wary Chinese crowd back into common spaces, maybe it’s avatar 2. Among Chinese millennials, few titles are as poignantly nostalgic as the first. Avatar. The film was among the initial wave of Hollywood blockbusters to descend on the country as it was entering its high-growth box office boom era of late last years, and Avatar It became the biggest sensation of all. The first film topped $202.6 million, a staggering sum in 2010, when China was home to just 5,690 movie theaters (today there are more than 82,000). It took three years and the construction of thousands more cinemas to AvatarChina’s record for falling (versus Stephen Chow’s) Journey to the West, which generated $215 million in 2013). And when the original Avatar re-released in China in March 2021, as part of a bid by regulators to boost sales during a pandemic fallow period for both Chinese and Hollywood releases, it earned $58 million, the fourth-most of any American film that year. year.

How word of mouth circulates the path of water interacts with the audience’s hesitation will determine its ultimate fate in China, and perhaps even how far the sequel climbs in the world record books.

More to come…

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