The movie will open in the Middle Kingdom on Dec. 16, the same day it hits North American theaters.
The Way of Water is one of the few Hollywood tentpoles to land a berth China since the pandemic began.
Cameron’s sequel sails into theaters around the globe 13 than years after Avatar made history in becoming the top-grossing film of all time at the global box office, a crown it still wears today with more than $2.92 billion in ticket sales, not adjusted for inflation and including re-releases.
Avatar has been a big hit over the years in China, where it has earned a hefty $261.8 million to date (it has been released there several times).
The Way of Water‘s footprint in China will include Imax theaters, a go-to exhibitor for Avatar fans.
Sources say talks to book the movie in China have been in the works for weeks, but the official announcement came two days after the stunning disclosure that Bob Iger will return to run the Walt Disney Co. as CEO, resulting in the ouster of Bob Chapek.
Disney inherited the Avatar franchise after Iger engineered a deal to acquire much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, including the movie studio 20th Century Fox.
The Way of Water‘s production budget is one of the priciest in Hollywood’s history, and is in the $350 million to $400 million range, according to sources.