Ahead of the rollout of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water in China this week, the original Avatar is getting a surprise rerelease in a limited promotional run from tomorrow locally — and will include an exclusive Easter egg for local audiences. The remastered 4K/HDR version is so far expected in up to 80 cinemas – China has steadily been opening theaters as zero-Covid restrictions have eased in the past week.
This version of Avatar, the biggest film ever at the worldwide box office, that is hitting China on Monday is not the same one as the March 2021 reissue there. It’s rather more akin to the Avatar reissue that went out in 50 offshore markets in September to set the table for Way of Water employing the Cinity technology.
The Cinity cinema system format of 3D, 4K and high-frame rate is a high-end technology developed by China. At the CineEurope conference in Barcelona last June, laser powered solutions firm Cinionic teamed with Cinity to present four never-before-seen scenes of the film.
Executives from China Film Group were treated to a screening of footage from the Disney/20th Century Studios’ Avatar sequel in September in the format.
China is a massive market for Avatar. The original film made over $200M there way back in 2010, and the 2021 reissue saw another $58M. This helped push the Na’vi past Avengers: Endgame to reclaim the crown of highest-grossing film of all time at the global box office.
China remains a swing on the opening of Way of Water this week. Presales are robust, but cinemas are just coming back online and there’s some concern about new Covid cases and the public’s sentiment about returning to crowded spaces.
The team has been out in force, starting with a world premiere in London earlier this week, where Cameron said it was “a celebration of this art form that we love so much. It’s back, it’s alive and it’s as great as it’s ever been.”