Culture Beat: 'Avatar 2' achieves box-office milestone with help of Chinese market
Published: Feb 07, 2023 09:21 PM
Poster of Avatar: The Way of Water  Photo: Screenshot from website

Poster of Avatar: The Way of Water Photo: Screenshot from website

"Disney is 'pretty confident' its films can succeed without the Chinese market" - this headline concerning a statement from former Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek seemed so awkward after Chinese filmgoers helped Avatar: The Way of Water overtake the classic Titanic on Sunday to become the third highest-grossing film in history at the international box office.

The epic science-fiction sequel has sold $2.18 billion in tickets worldwide as of Tuesday, with nearly three-quarters of that total coming from international markets, led by China, with $240 million in ticket sales, followed by France ($141 million) and Germany ($ 130 million), according to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan.

For IMAX, the global total is $247 million, of which $170 million comes from countries other than the US. The China IMAX cume is $52 million, the second best ever in the market, according to a report from Deadline.

There is no doubt that the resounding performance of Avatar: The Way of Water could not have been achieved without the support of the Chinese film market. The film got a lucky 30-day extension which allowed it to run through the Spring Festival holidays, the most lucrative film period of the year. Chinese moviegoers' high enthusiasm for movie-watching amid the holiday helped it to climb up to take the global No.3 spot behind Avatar and Avengers: Endgame.

Some Western media outlets have boasted that the release of Avatar: The Way of Water greatly boosted the quick recovery of the Chinese film market. In the meantime, data show that it was the Chinese market that contributed to the accomplishments of the sci-fi sequel.

China, the world's second largest film market, has seen strong box-office revenue growth since the high-profile domestic releases represented by sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth II and comedy murder mystery Full River Red.

According to the National Film Administration, the 2023 box-office revenue during the Spring Festival reached 6.76 billion yuan, the second-highest in the holiday's history.

Avatar: The Way of Water's milestones are proof of China's healthy and strong film market. The world has seen China's significant and prominent role in the global film industry. China welcomes friendly cultural communication for win-win results.

The author is an editor of the Global Times.