In the last few months of the year 2022, audiences were gearing up with mixed emotions to return to Pandora. Wait! Pandora? Yes, it is the same fictitious habitable moon in the Alpha Centauri star system that you saw in the movie Avatar in 2009.
In 2021, this American epic sci-fi film grossed $2.9 billion. Thus, it secured the top spot of the highest-grossing films in the history of cinema worldwide. Consequently, the director planned to make several sequels. The first and long-awaited sequel is “Avatar: The Way of Water” (commonly known as “Avatar 2”). Thus, the sequel finally arrived in December 2022 after 13 long years. The film received positive reviews and was a massive hit in the theaters. Regardless of being a mega-hit, is it successful in terms of business also?
This article presents a mini case study on Avatar 2. It thoroughly describes every aspect to analyze whether the movie was a success or a flop concerning business.
A Brief Overview of financials of Avatar 1
Before landing on the business wise analysis of Avatar 2, let’s briefly discuss a brief overview of the first part (Avatar 1). The development of Avatar 1 began in 2005 and was finally released in 2009. It was one of the first films made through motion capture filming techniques and 3D technology. Its official budget and promotion cost is $237 million and $150 million respectively. So the overall production cost was $280 to $310 million. Also, it is the first movie in the world to gross more than $2 billion. It made immense profits due to its impactful audio-visual images and screenplay.
The Buzz around Avatar 2
It was obvious that the production house spent a princely sum on this sequel too. The expectation was no less from Avatar 2. However, people have mixed opinions on it. One section of the public that has a huge curiosity about the work of James Cameron (Director of Avatar) made full-fledged advanced bookings for the show which indicated the upcoming positive results. Contrarily, the other section of the public and the critics were impassive of it. They had a valid reason for it which will be described in the following section.
What critics were saying before the release of Avatar 2?
Soon after the release of the trailer on 5th May 2022, like the audience, the Critics had mixed opinions on it too. Some called it a staggering achievement, chock-full of majestic vistas at an epic scale while others called it one of the best stunning frameworks, with mind-blowing visuals, etc.
Look, when Avatar was released in 2009, it became a blockbuster due to the following reasons-
- Motion Capture filming techniques
- 3-D viewing including RealD 3D, Dolby 3D, XpanD 3D, and IMAX #D formats.
- 4-D viewing in South Korea theaters.
Even though these traits were unique 13 years ago. But not anymore. You can see several with similar advanced technologies. So according to critics, the movie could succeed only if they have used highly advanced technologies that other filmmakers have not used yet or created a strong storyline. Also, people do not have much patience to watch a film spanning over 3 hours. According to critics, the sequel needs to earn more than $2.8 billion to land in the list of highest-grossing blockbuster movies.
As you can see, before its official release many critics already predicted that the film would be a disaster at the box office. The primary reasons claimed by them were the overuse of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) in the film and its long duration. But to everyone’s surprise, the movie performed outstandingly at the box office after its release and it was way better than people had expected. How? Let’s figure it out next.
After its official release, Avatar 2 became a blockbuster within no time. Not only was the sequel more technologically advanced than its contemporaries but it also covered a wide array of relevant topics. You will find interesting content in the film like race relations, running for revolutions, destruction of natural habitats for greed, colonialism, tribal associations, destruction of native habitats, struggles in life, and the list goes on. You know the names of certain characters were so complicated to pronounce but still, people remembered them. How? You would wonder… It was mainly due to their appearance and roles throughout the story in the world of Pandora.
The release date of the movie was fantastic and took brilliant advantage of the holiday season. Analysts have claimed that the movie will continue to earn massive profits throughout January, February, and March of the year 2023.
Budget of Avatar 2: $460 million (official cost of) + $100 million (for marketing and promotions)
As of 19th January 2023, the box office collection of Avatar 2 is $1.516 billion (approx.) placing it in the 10th position in the highest-grossing film to date. You may wonder why the director (Cameron) described the film as the “worst business case in movie history” even after standing at the 10th spot of super hit films. Why does it need to earn at least $2 billion to claim itself as a profitable business? Well, a straightforward answer is- the highly expensive budget for the creation of the film. The film creators desperately want their business to hit maximum profits not only to meet creation costs but also for the successful completion of future projects (next sequels).
Till today it seems that despite becoming a blockbuster, the movie is yet to reach the heights of success business-wise. Because, it needs to pass the threshold of $2 billion (as claimed by James Cameron, director). However, the film is continuing to screen in theaters and earning profits. Soon they may hit the threshold target and become a successful blockbuster concerning viewers as well as business!