“Avatar: The Way of Water” plunges into theaters


20th Century Studios

“Avatar: The Way of Water” released in theaters December 16 and continues to thrive. The long-awaited sequel to the 2009 film continues its breathtaking saga of Pandora, reuniting audiences with Jake Sully and Neytiri as they protect their young family and ageless traditions. James Cameron’s 3rd film appeared as one of the most lucrative films of all time.

Lauren Lee, News Editor

“Avatar: The Way Of Water” led the domestic weekend box office charts for the fourth consecutive week with an estimated $45 million in earnings, as the movie’s worldwide revenue surpasses $1.7 billion and inches toward director James Cameron’s $2 billion target. The film crossed the $1 billion mark just 14 days after being released and stood as the sixth movie in history to do so in that amount of time. The movie made the shortlist for several possible Academy Awards nominations, as well as the BAFTAS longlist, and its nominations for the upcoming Golden Globes include Best Motion Picture and Drama.

Fans have waited 13 years after Cameron’s “Avatar” revolutionized the film landscape and topped the history-making box office charts. Now, the long-awaited sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” has arrived in theaters. The sequel tells the story of the Sully family — Jake, Neytiri and their children — as their land becomes torn apart. Per an official synopsis, the Sully family endures danger, battles to death and tragedy throughout the film. The couple flees to the Metkayina’s waterworld, which disrupts tribal politics. Cameron directs the feature and produces alongside Jon Landau.

Original stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprise their respective roles as Jake and Neytiri, with Sigourney Weaver also returning. Franchise newcomers Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh also enter the mysterious world of Pandora in yet-undisclosed roles. While the original first look at “Avatar 2” was unveiled in January 2020, the pandemic pushed back its release date. Cameron gave credit to Marvel movies for ushering in the return to theaters and promised “Avatar 2” would not debut on streaming.

Cameron did not intend on filming “dry for wet” ocean scenes and instead opted for authenticity. Thus, Cameron introduced the entire cast to professional scuba diving. Cameron also developed new technology in order to film motion capture scenes underwater, a task he never previously achieved. Weaver struggled to hold her breath for over six minutes, with co-star Winslet not breathing for over seven minutes

“It’s not going to work. It’s not going to look real. I even let them run a test, where we captured dry for wet, and then we captured in water, a crude level of our in-water capture. And it wasn’t even close,” Cameron said.

The trailer for “Avatar: The Way of Water” debuted in theaters before “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” May 2023; This starts the beginning of “Avatar” appearing on the big screen. The franchise continues with “Avatar 3,” out December 2024. Cameron will also stay busy with filming “Avatar 4” and “Avatar 5” back-to-back if the director decides to stay on board in the same role.

This is unlike any kind of adventure movie I’ve seen. The cultures and language of the natives of Pandora amazed me. Everything about this movie I am beyond impressed and truly captivated by the way they captured breathtaking moments underwater,” junior Grayson Hodges said.

Regardless of who helms the films, the multi-layered stories of Pandora will all appear as individual installments in the larger franchise. Landau also explained at the 2022 CinemaCon that each story will come to its own conclusion, and each movie will deliver to audiences fulfilling emotional resolutions despite the multiple sequels in the works.