James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water is projected to earn somewhere between $118 and $128 million in China over the weekend, which is pretty impressive.
Which is a pretty stellar opening, no doubt but – and it’s a really impressive ‘but’ – the movie is believed to cost somewhere in the ballpark of $350-$400 million, which if the estimates of its production costs are accurate means it has to earn – at least – a billion dollars to break even, never mind end up in the black.
The original Avatar earned almost $3 billion ($2,922,917,914) worldwide in 2009 though that movie had a budget of only $237 million so by my reckoning the likelihood isn’t high that its sequel reaches that level of insane profit.
Another point worth thinking about is that Avatar: The Way of Water is so expensive that it cannot succeed with China, which is a problem because whatever the whims are of the Communist Party at any particular point in time has everything to do with whether or not a movie opens in that country.
And it matters, and not only for massively budgeted movies (remember when we thought $250 million to produce a movie was insane? It fells almost quaint lately) because Black Adam certainly could have used it.