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Will James Cameron give Avatar another re-release in theaters before Avatar 2 comes out in 2021? Should Disney -- the new distributors -- play the original on the big screen again to reintroduce the film to a new audience more than a decade after fans first went to Pandora? A second re-release would mark the film's third run in theaters, and possibly allow it to reclaim its title as the highest-grossing movie of all time.
I wasn't thinking along these re-release lines until I saw Avengers: Endgame was still making plenty of money weeks after topping Avatar's record. Forbes suggested Endgame was hoping its still slowly growing total will be enough to hold off an Avatar re-release, "...as Avatar will likely hit theaters again ahead of the sequel's release."
Will it? Huh. I haven't seen James Cameron say anything about that yet, but I haven't exactly been chasing that info. I wouldn't be shocked.
These re-releases with barely anything new about them have been doing surprisingly well. And Avatar genuinely is one of those movies that needs to be seen on a big screen, hence the major box office money. Any kids who never saw it in a theater never really saw it at all.
Re-release box office $$$ is traditionally added to the original movie's total -- like Fox counting the PG-13 Once Upon a Deadpool's grosses to the overall total for Deadpool 2, and the re-releases with bonus footage for Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home just adding to the original totals.
Avatar already played this game to solid success back in 2010. The movie was first released in December 2009 and kept going and going and going in theaters. Ultimately, an Avatar: Special Edition was announced for a 12-week run with eight minutes of never before seen footage. It was only being released in 3D and IMAX 3D, starting in August 2010. It picked up about $35 million in 2010 money. That may not sound like a lot, but it was tough for Avengers: Endgame to make that last $35 million or so. It needed its own re-release to top Avatar, although the circumstances around both releases (and re-releases) were very different.
Avengers: Endgame (still playing in theaters)
It's easy to have a knee-jerk cynicism against these re-releases -- again? you don't have enough money? -- but for Avatar I do wonder if it might be worthwhile to give young fans a chance to catch up in the right way.
It certainly doesn't have to be a full 12-week engagement. No new footage needed either, just maybe a weekend right before Avatar 2 comes out. Sometimes movies come back for limited engagements like that. I wouldn't do it just to try to beat Avengers: Endgame, that ship has sailed (along with the Titanic), I'd do it as a way to prepare fans for Avatar 2 when it will have been 12 years since the first movie came out.
One of the new Team Avatar cast members sounds eager to see how the Avatar sequels do at the box office, with the new movies possibly rivaling Avengers: Endgame. We'll see.
After some delays, Avatar 2 is currently scheduled to come out in December 2021, with Avatar 3 expected in December 2023, Avatar 4 in December 2025, and -- this is exhausting already -- Avatar 5 in December 2027. With that much Avatar already on the way, they may as well re-release the first one so fans can understand why we're getting so many sequels.
Here's everything else we know so far about Avatar 2. What are your re-release thoughts? Poll time: