Did James Cameron Wait Too Long To Release Avatar: The Way of Water?

Quaritch

credit: Avatar: The Way of Water

After 13 years, Avatar: The Way of Water has been released, and the opening box office returns are certainly fascinating. On one hand, the James Cameron sequel made more in its first weekend than the original Avatar, which opened with $77 million. However, the first film had an incredible hold in its second weekend as it made $75 million, which is less than a 2% drop. Can Avatar: The Way of Water replicate that success? Thus far, the audience reception seems solid with an A cinema score, but despite the $100 million plus opening, this still feels like a disappointment. Now, this doesn’t mean that Avatar: The Way of Water is tracking to be a failure. In fact, it could replicate Avatar’s strongholds in the weeks to come and get the $2 billion that James Cameron claims the film needs since there’s little competition standing in its way for the next several weeks.

Avatar: The Way of Water could ultimately be a giant success, but that doesn’t mean that Cameron didn’t take way too long to release the sequel to the top-grossing movie of all time. Originally, Avatar 2 was scheduled for December 2014, and then the release date kept changing until it finally settled on December 16, 2022. The release of Avatar: The Way of Water is reminiscent of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; the latter is without a doubt a financial flop, but the focus is that both films didn’t strike when the iron was hot. The first Avatar is the reason that the entire 3D craze began. The technology and visuals were revolutionary for its time and a giant step forward in terms of filmmaking. Sin City was a giant feat in terms of bringing comic book features to life. It was fresh, exciting, and compelling and had the audience begging for more after the first film came out.

Avatar

credit: Avatar: Way of Water

Nearly ten years later, and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For felt dated and generic. Comic book movies were nothing new at this point, and the reviews weren’t exactly hot for the Robert Rodriquez sequel. The reviews are better for Avatar 2, though it feels dated, like A Dame To Kill For. It just doesn’t have that wow factor that the first film brought when it was introduced in 2009. The 3D craze is gone, but the amazement in technology has surely evolved to the point when Avatar: The Way of Water just doesn’t stand out in 2022.

Even based on Avatar standards, many don’t see the differences in why this film is a standout. This isn’t to say that the sequel is bad. It’s actually entertaining, and again, it’s always possible that Avatar: The Way of Water rides the same wave as its predecessor. The key to Avatar’s strength wasn’t the story because most agree that it’s nothing special when you peel back the curtains outside of the visuals. Avatar: The Way of Water is gorgeous on all fronts, but it needed to be the Terminator 2: Judgment Day of the franchise, Meaning everything about the film needed to blow audiences away. It didn’t.

Avatar: The Way of Water

credit: Avatar: The Way of Water

It’s a wonder how James Cameron is going to evolve the visuals in Avatar 3. That film is guaranteed because it’s been shot already, though Avatar 4 & Avatar 5 are still a question mark at this point. The long-time director made it a point to highlight the advancements in visuals of the latest features, and as I mentioned above, Avatar: The Way of Water looks incredible, but that can’t be the main selling point of the series as audiences are going to expect bigger each and every time. There’s no telling what the box office future of Avatar 2 looks like, but no matter the case, it does feel 10 years too late.

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