‘Avatar’ was re-released in theaters again over the weekend, 13 years after it debuted — and the box office is a good sign for the upcoming sequel

  • “Avatar” was re-released to theaters over the weekend ahead of the upcoming sequel.
  • It earned $30 million worldwide, $10 million of which came from North America.
  • It’s a good sign for December’s release of “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

“Avatar” was the biggest movie in the world over the weekend — again.

James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic was re-released to theaters ahead of the December debut of its long-awaited sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water.” It grossed $30.5 million globally, $10 million of which came from North America.

The strong box office for the 13-year-old movie is a good sign for “The Way of Water’s” chances.

“Avatar” is the biggest movie of all time, now with $2.878 billion at the worldwide box office, including $770.5 million domestically.

“Avengers: Endgame” briefly topped it in 2019, but “Avatar” reclaimed its crown after a re-release in China last year grossed $50 million.

“Avatar” was remastered for this re-release in 4K at a high-dynamic range and with enhanced sound. Imax screenings accounted for 20% of the global gross and 29% of the domestic take.

The lesson here is to never underestimate Cameron, who also directed “Titanic” — which was the world’s biggest movie until “Avatar” dethroned it.

“‘You know what? I made “Titanic.” This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion dollar complex on your lot? “Titanic” paid for that, so I get to do this,'” Cameron told the studio regarding changes it wanted to make to “Avatar,” he said in a recent interview with The New York Times. “And afterward, they thanked me.” 

The theatrical industry has a lot riding on “The Way of Water.” After a promising summer, blockbuster tentpoles have been lacking in recent weeks. The only surefire hits coming to theaters the rest of the year are “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “The Way of Water.”

Because of the movie drought, studios have recently re-released other movies, such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Jaws.” The former earned $6.5 million over the four-day Labor Day weekend in the US, and the latter made $3 million in that same period.

“Avatar” was up against the new release “Don’t Worry Darling” over the weekend, which topped the US box office with $19 million after months of offscreen drama.