Disney's "Avatar: The Way of Water" (DIS) has been greenlit for a China release.
"It's huge — there's really no way to overstate it," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Box Office Pro, told Yahoo Finance.
The original "Avatar," released in 2009, heavily relied on foreign markets as it went on secure $2.74 billion globally, becoming the highest grossing movie of all time. More than $200 million of that total stemmed from mainland China.
"That market has only grown since," Robbins added. "We even saw multiple re-releases of that original film draw considerable revenue in China over the last few years. I really anticipate this is going to add a significant amount to the bottom line for 'Way of Water.'"
The sequel's reported production budget of $250 million-plus, which director James Cameron noted makes it "the worst business case in movie history," will have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film just to breakeven.
One risk remains increased lockdowns amid Beijing's zero-COVID policy. That, coupled with the lack of Hollywood-approved films, have heavily weighed on China's theatrical ecosystem, with the country's box office down 35% compared to the same point in 2021, according to data from consultancy Artisan Gateway, cited by Variety.
"This just goes to the nebulous aspect of forecasting what's going to happen in China — whether it's the box office, government related, or pandemic related, there's so many factors in play here," Robbins said.
Hollywood-China relations peaked between 2012-2016, but the Chinese market began to turn its back on the U.S. right around 2018. At that time, regulation of the country's film management was assigned to the Communist Party's propaganda department.
Last year, "Fast & Furious" star John Cena came under intense scrutiny after apologizing to China — in Mandarin — for calling Taiwan a country, underscoring Hollywood’s profit pursuit.
China has long been a major moneymaker for the movie industry — but the country has increased its censorship rules in recent years with major titles including Disney's "Black Widow," "Eternals," and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," along with Warner Bros. "Space Jam: A New Legacy" all denied China releases.
Reasons for denial can include anything the government deems inappropriate, such as depictions of homosexuality or content the government believes violates the country's values.
"The lessons of the past year or so have have really underscored that studios have to start taking into account that their [biggest], most expensive tentpoles might not get a release in China," Robbins said.
"Spider-Man: No Way Home" was denied after producers refused to remove the Statue of Liberty from the film, while Chinese regulators quickly rejected "Top Gun: Maverick" due to the presence of the Taiwanese flag on the back of Tom Cruise's Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell's combat jacket. Beijing does not recognize Taiwan as an independent country.
Despite the lack of a China release, both "Spider-Man" and "Maverick" went on to secure global receipts of $1.9 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. Hollywood insiders cited the results as a major turning point when it comes to the complicated Hollywood-China relationship.
"The fact that China now is not as important to Hollywood is a fantastic thing for the creative expression of these filmmakers," Chris Fenton, movie producer and author of the book "Feeding the Dragon," previously told Yahoo Finance Live.
"We can still make movies without integrating China propaganda or narrative into them, and if they're relevant, if they're universal in tone, there will be consumer markets [in China] for future movies," Fenton said. "But right now we don't have to placate Beijing with every single movie that we make."
Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Media Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at [email protected]
Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance
Download the Yahoo Finance app for Apple or Android
Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, and YouTube
Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) has been one of the stocks most watched by Zacks.com users lately. So, it is worth exploring what lies ahead for the stock.
(Bloomberg) — China signaled more monetary stimulus was on the cards, including a likely cut to the reserve requirement ratio for banks, as it ramps up support for an economy under strain from surging Covid cases and more lockdowns. Most Read from BloombergElizabeth Holmes Judge Proposes Texas Prison, Family VisitsAnwar Ibrahim Becomes Malaysia PM After Decades of WaitingChina Covid Cases Jump to Record High, Topping Shanghai OutbreakMost Fed Officials Seek to Slow Pace of Interest-Rate Hikes S
The much anticipated Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water reportedly has a production budget…
ClearBridge Investments, an investment management firm, published its “Small Cap Strategy” third-quarter 2022 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. The ClearBridge Small Cap Strategy underperformed its Russell 2000 Index benchmark during the third quarter. On an absolute basis, the Strategy had losses in nine out of 11 sectors in which it […](Reuters) -A major investor in News Corp and Fox Corp, Independent Franchise Partners, said on Wednesday it opposes Rupert Murdoch's plan to recombine the companies, raising a potential obstacle to the mogul's desire to reunite the media empire he separated nearly a decade ago. The London-based investment firm told a special committee of News Corp's board last month that it thinks a combination on its own would fail to realize the full value of the company. Independent, which owns about 7% of News Corp's Class A shares and 6.4% in Fox Corp, is the second investor to express dissent over the plan.
ClearBridge Investments, an investment management firm, published its “Small Cap Strategy” third-quarter 2022 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. The ClearBridge Small Cap Strategy underperformed its Russell 2000 Index benchmark during the third quarter. On an absolute basis, the Strategy had losses in nine out of 11 sectors in which it […]ClearBridge Investments, an investment management firm, published its “Small Cap Strategy” third-quarter 2022 investor letter – a copy of which can be downloaded here. The ClearBridge Small Cap Strategy underperformed its Russell 2000 Index benchmark during the third quarter. On an absolute basis, the Strategy had losses in nine out of 11 sectors in which it […]Alphabet's (GOOGL) YouTube TV is letting users watch HBO Max and Cinemax preview free of cost through Nov 29, 2022.
(Bloomberg) — Oil tumbled to near a two-month low as traders assessed a higher-than-expected price cap on Russian crude between $65 and $70 a barrel and a surprise build in US products.Most Read from BloombergElizabeth Holmes Judge Proposes Texas Prison, Family VisitsMost Fed Officials Seek to Slow Pace of Interest-Rate Hikes SoonFrom Tom Brady to Shaq, FTX’s Celebrity Promoters May Be On the Hook for DamagesChina Covid Cases Jump to Record High, Topping Shanghai OutbreakThe European Union’s pr
The owner of Gaza's first virtual reality gaming cafe is offering a fantasy world of action, music, and sports to young people who have grown up under the blockade. "Often many of the youth who come here to play they look for an escape from the reality they live in," Firas Al-Khodary, the owner of VR Station in Gaza city, said. According to Al-Khodary, virtual action and combat games are the most popular among young men, while young women tend to favour sports, music and travel.
According to a regulatory filing, Buffett on Wednesday donated another 2.4 million of the conglomerate's Class B shares, worth about $759 million based on their closing price. Buffett donated 1.5 million shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Another 900,000 shares were split evenly among charities run by his children Howard, Susan and Peter: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the Novo Foundation.
(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. plans to spend more than $1 billion a year to produce movies that it will release in theaters, according to people familiar with the company’s plans, the largest commitment to cinemas by an internet company.Most Read from BloombergElizabeth Holmes Judge Proposes Texas Prison, Family VisitsMost Fed Officials Seek to Slow Pace of Interest-Rate Hikes SoonFrom Tom Brady to Shaq, FTX’s Celebrity Promoters May Be On the Hook for DamagesChina Covid Cases Jump to Record Hi
Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss Bob Iger’s plans to restructure Disney.
With a history of decades-long investing success, billionaire Ken Griffin knows a thing or two about market behavior. Recently, the Citadel Investment Group Founder and CEO offered some of his thoughts on the state of the stock market and where the economy is heading. While Griffin believes inflation has already peaked, he thinks the Fed has yet to truly put the “genie back in the bottle.” He also thinks unemployment is about to rise and expects a recession will likely materialize “sometime in t
(Bloomberg) — After losing nearly $300 billion in market value in two months, a growing chorus of Tesla Inc. analysts say the share-price decline has gone far enough, pushing the stock higher on Wednesday.Most Read from BloombergElizabeth Holmes Judge Proposes Texas Prison, Family VisitsMost Fed Officials Seek to Slow Pace of Interest-Rate Hikes SoonChina Covid Cases Jump to Record High, Topping Shanghai OutbreakFrom Tom Brady to Shaq, FTX’s Celebrity Promoters May Be On the Hook for DamagesMor
S&P Global said on Wednesday its flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, fell to 46.3 this month from a final reading of 48.2 in October. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the private sector. Activity is slumping under the weight of the Federal Reserve's most aggressive interest rate-hiking cycle since the 1980s aimed at curbing inflation by dampening economic demand.
'The Big Bang Theory' cast member and 'The Flight Attendant' actress Kaley Cuoco grabbed everyone's attention when she walked down the red carpet in a black see-through lace dress.
Here we go again — the bestselling author and the new Twitter owner have exchanged barbs online before
Shania Twain‘s upcoming album, ‘Queen of Me’ is a love-letter to herself and other women. So she posed nude for the album art to “feel comfortable” in her skin.
Margot Robbie has said she didn’t know the definition of sexual harassment in the workplace before making “Bombshell”, Jay Roach’s 2019 drama following the women at Fox News who exposed CEO Roger Ailes for his misconduct. The actor opened up about her career and experience of the film industry during a BAFTA Life in Pictures […]