Disney Sets March 28 Digital Home Release Date for ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

The Walt Disney Co. has set a March 28 home release date for James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, which will initially be available only for digital purchase from most major digital retailers, including Vudu, Redbox On Demand, Prime Video and Apple TV.

A DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date has not yet been announced, but is expected to follow.

The belated sequel to 2009’s original Avatar is the third-highest-grossing movie of all time, earning more than $2.2 billion worldwide ($607.7 million domestic) and receiving four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

The film’s digital release will offer 4K Ultra HD quality and immersive Dolby Atmos audio. The release includes three hours of never-before-seen bonus content featuring the filmmakers, cast and crew.

In Avatar: The Way of Water, director Cameron returns to the world of Pandora more than a decade after the events of the first film. The sequel launches the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. Audiences also are introduced to new Na’vi cultures and a range of exotic sea creatures that populate the majestic oceans.

Produced by Cameron and his longtime partner Jon Landau, the Lightstorm Entertainment production stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet. New cast members include Britain Dalton, Jamie Flatters, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Bailey Bass and Jack Champion.

Bonus features include:

  • “Inside Pandora’s Box” — a series of featurettes on the challenges facing cast and crew as filmmakers devise new technologies to push the limits of cinema)
  • “Building the World of Pandora” —  Cameron and a team of talented artists combine years of research with their design skills to build the world of Pandora with new characters, creatures, indigenous clans, underwater environments and the hard-tech world of the RDA.
  • “Capturing Pandora” — Cameron’s approach to performance-capture has the cast performing in a volume rigged with infrared cameras to capture their movement, and head rig cameras to capture emotion on their faces with only the boundaries of imagination to limit them.
  • “The Undersea World of Pandora” — Co-production designer Dylan Cole and his team conceive of the marine creatures required for Avatar: The Way of Water while James Cameron and his stunt team devise extraordinary means to bring those creatures to life in a performance capture tank.
  • “The Challenges of Pandora’s Waters” — Cameron tackles the challenge of performance-capture above and below the water’s surface, utilizing a wave machine and current generator to reproduce ocean conditions, and underwater vehicles to replicate creature movement.
  • “Pandora’s Returning Characters” — Cameron reunites with his returning cast to discuss the evolution of their characters in Avatar: The Way of Water.
  • “Pandora’s Next Generation” — Viewers are introduced to the young newcomers who have been cast as the next generation of Na’vi and follow them through the adventure of making Avatar: The Way of Water.
  • “Spider’s Web” — Cameron introduced the human character of Spider (portrayed by young actor Jack Champion) into the fabric of Pandora, an introduction that created a host of technological challenges on set.
  • “Becoming Na’vi” — The Avatar cast is immersed in the culture of the indigenous Na’vi, living off the land in the Hawaiian rainforest and training in a multitude of disciplines in preparation for their roles.
  • “The Reef People of Pandora” — A look at how the Metkayina reef clan was developed with great attention to detail, bearing unique evolutionary traits and a culture — with new dwellings, new clothes and different way of life — all a result of living off the ocean.
  • “Bringing Pandora to Life” — Once Cameron completed his virtual production process, every sequence was turned over to Weta FX to bring Pandora to life — with significant advancements in facial performance, environments and making CG water look real.
  • “The RDA Returns to Pandora” — Co-production designer Ben Procter and his team present an armada of new vehicles and human technologies that the RDA brings to Pandora — in concept design and with practical builds.
  • “The New Characters of Pandora” — Viewers are introduced to the important new characters of the Avatar saga played by Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Brendan Cowell and Jemaine Clement.
  • “The Sounds of Pandora” — Hear how Cameron worked with composer Simon Franglen to create the distinctive music of The Way of Water while building on James Horner’s score for Avatar, and learn how Chris Boyes created the immersive sounds of Pandora.
  • “New Zealand: Pandora’s Home” — The production of the Avatar sequels is so thoroughly ensconced in New Zealand that Cameron considers The Way of Water a “New Zealand film.” Hear reflections from the cast and crew, including the New Zealand crew, on making the film.


Also included are the screen tests that won the young cast their roles in Avatar: The Way of Water; a look at the stunt team that did everything from racing underwater on ilus and flying the skies on ikrans to maneuvering RDA speed boats; a virtual visit to the Lightstorm Lab, the backbone of virtual production for the Avatar films; and an inside look at The Troupe, whose members played dozens of roles in the performance capture volume and on live-action sets.

‘Avatar 2’ Tops $2 Billion Global Box Office After Six Weeks in Release

Disney-owned 20th Century Studios’ sequel Avatar: The Way of Water continues to show strong sea legs, adding another $20 million in projected box office revenue through Jan. 22. The tally is enough to push director James Cameron’s follow-up to his 2009 original Avatar past $2 billion in global theatrical revenue after just six weeks in release.

The movie’s total supplants Sony Pictures’ 2021 global box office champ, Spider-Man: No Way Home ($1.91 billion), as the No. 6 all-time theatrical revenue release — and sits just $20 million behind No. 5, Avengers: Infinity War (Disney/Marvel Studios).

Universal Pictures/DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish added $11.5 million in ticket sales to push its global five-week total near $300 million. The tally was enough to drop former box office champ, Universal’s life-like doll thriller M3GAN, to No. 3 with almost $10 million in revenue. The movie’s global tally after three weeks now approaches $127 million — with a sequel in the works.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Sony’s new drama release Missing finished the weekend in the No. 4 spot with $9.3 million across more than 3,000 screens. The studio’s Tom Hanks-starrer A Man Called Otto finished No. 5 with $9 million in revenue to push its worldwide tally past $55.3 million.

Finally, Lionsgate’s thriller Plane, starring Gerard Butler as a commercial pilot who, after an emergency landing on a remote island, finds himself and passengers in the crosshairs of warring island rebels, sold more than $5 million worth of tickets to push its global 10-day total near $20 million.

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Leads Global Box Office With $435 Million Tidal Wave — Driven by 3D

Director James Cameron’s Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios), generated an estimated $435 million in global box office revenue, including almost $135 million across North American screens, for the weekend ended Dec. 18.

The opening is the third-highest since the pandemic began, behind No. 2 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Disney/Marvel Studios) at $442 million, including $187.4 million in North America, and No. 1, Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home with $600 million worldwide, including $260.1 million domestically.

Avatar: The Way of Water ranks as the No. 5 North American box office opening in 2022, tied with Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Batman.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The movie generated an estimated 66% of its revenue from worldwide 3D ticket sales, underscoring the fact moviegoers continue embrace the 3D format when presented with compelling content. The projection is based on data from Comscore.
China was the top-performing 3D market in the world, with an estimated 99% of all moviegoers in the Middle Kingdom purchasing 3D tickets. In North America, an estimated 58% of moviegoers purchased 3D tickets and internationally, 66% of this week’s audience experienced the film in 3D.
“Just as the original Avatar did, Avatar: The Way of Water has set a new benchmark for the current 3D marketplace,” Travis Reid, CEO for 3D company RealD, said in a statement. “We expect to continue to see strong 3D results worldwide thru the holiday and new year.”
Avatar’s opening largely sucked the air out of the remaining theatrical market as Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever added $5.3 million in ticket sales to up its North American tally past $418 million after six weekends. Universal Pictures’ holiday drama, Violent Night, saw another $5 million in revenue to up its tally near $35 million after three weeks.
Disney continues to dominate the box office as the animated musical Strange World and Searchlight Pictures’ black comedy The Menu rounded out the top five with $2.2 million and $1.7 million in revenue , respectively.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Movies Exclusive to Vudu and Other Digital Purchase Sites ; NYT ‘Best’ Movies of 2022?; More on Cameron and ‘Avatar’

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley lead with a list of Golden Globe-nominated movies newly released to Vudu for digital rent or download, exclusive to that service. This leads to a discussion around the merits of digital ownership in general and whether it’s ultimately worth more than owning physical releases. It contrasts nicely with how the episode wraps with several newly announced extravagant DVD/Blu-ray Disc boxed sets just in time for Christmas.

In between these segments, the hosts check in on James Cameron again. This is the last episode before Avatar 2 hits the big screen, and Cameron is featured in yet another interview hyping up his expected box office blockbuster. The latest: he received zero studio notes for his script for Avatar 4, and yes, he wrote the script for Avatars 2-4 before even starting to film The Way of Water. While no studio notes historically portend a mediocre movie that studios will write off, if any other director was going to break that mold, it would be Cameron.

The other major segment of the episode is a breakdown of a recent list of movies released by the New York Times that Charles and Charlie roast, as said list consists almost entirely of extremely niche movies that nobody seems to have heard of. Given that the hosts lead a movie-themed podcast, they both find it strange that these movies flew so under the radar and yet made it to such a year-end list.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Wakanda Forever’ Revisited; ‘Peacemaker’ Achieves Cult Status

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News Podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley divert from the usual format to dig deep into what they’ve been watching and what’s been going on in the film industry.

First up, the hosts talk about the themes of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and some of the characters’ motivations and portrayals. According to Charles, in the original Marvel comics the anti-hero Namor was half-Atlantean and half-human, but since DC’s recent portrayal of Aquaman featured that exact backstory, the version of Namor in Wakanda Forever was tweaked to be a descendant of the Mayans.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever maintains its top spot and worldwide has grossed over $500 million in its first 10 days of release. It’s projected to make just shy of $900 million.

In the second spot is The Menu, a small-budget movie Charlie has been interested in since it’s been marketed as a horror movie but is written by two comedy writer veterans whose resumés include “The Onion,” “Last Week Tonight” and “Comedy Bang Bang.” Meanwhile, arriving this week on Blu-ray is season one of HBO Max’s “Peacemaker,” which Charles highly recommends. As the direct sequel to James Gunn’s soft reboot/sequel The Suicide Squad, it garnered a strong cult following since its inception and is already greenlighted for a second season.

Lastly, we have some news out of Avatar 2’s production in a GQ interview with director James Cameron. Cameron has been pitching the long-awaited sequel as “the worst business case in movie history” as he alleges it will need to be one of the world’s highest-grossing movies of all time just to break even. In the interview, he recalls speaking to a Fox executive about production of the original Avatar: “I think this movie is going to make all the money … that’s exactly what I said, in caps, ALL THE MONEY, not some of the money, all the money.” Since Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, having made $2.9 billion to date, it’s fair to say Cameron called his shot and is confident about the performance of Avatar 2.

James Cameron Utilizing TrueCut Motion on His Films

Pixelworks, the developer of the TrueCut Motion platform, announced that it is working with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment on multiple motion picture titles.

“We’re bringing Avatar and Titanic back to the big screen, looking better in every way,” said James Cameron in a statement. “We will be presenting both films in 4K with high dynamic range visuals and have been working with Pixelworks’ TrueCut Motion platform to remaster the films in high frame rate, while keeping the cinematic look of the original.”

TrueCut Motion technology provides filmmakers with a visual palette of cinematic motion looks that goes beyond anything previously possible, according to the company. While motion pictures have seen tremendous improvements in picture performance, with higher resolution, higher dynamic range and more colors, the motion look has remained unchanged for close to a hundred years. TrueCut Motion technology allows filmmakers to dial in the motion, with any source frame rate, shot by shot, in post-production. The TrueCut Motion platform then ensures that these creative choices are delivered consistently across every screen, whether in the theater or the home, according to Pixelworks.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Lightstorm is once again extending the boundaries of the cinematic experience, and we are ecstatic to be a part of that,” Richard Miller, GM of TrueCut at Pixelworks, said in a statement. “After experiencing these remastered versions of Avatar and Titanic, we believe more and more filmmakers will be excited to take advantage of motion grading with TrueCut Motion technology.”

30th Anniversary ‘Terminator 2’ Steelbook Available Exclusively at Best Buy Nov. 23

Best Buy is releasing an exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack of Lionsgate’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day in Steelbook packaging Nov. 23, timed for the film’s 30th anniversary.

The 1991 sci-fi actioner from director James Cameron picks up the story 10 years after the original The Terminator, which was released in 1984. Arnold Schwarzenegger once again plays a Terminator, a killing machine from the future, but this time is sent back in time to protect the young John Connor (Edward Furlong), who destined to lead the human resistance against future domination by Skynet, the future machine overlord that sends a new Terminator (Robert Patrick) to kill him. Meanwhile, his mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), decides to target the creators of Skynet in the past before their creation can take hold.

The Steelbook will feature all new artwork from artist Orlando Arocena and Tracie Ching, and includes a 4K disc, a regular Blu-ray and a digital copy.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The 4K disc is reportedly a re-release of the 2017 edition, featuring the same transfer that was done by Studio Canal for that release, and the same bonus materials.

Included are three versions of the film — the theatrical edition, Cameron’s 1993 special edition that runs 16 minutes longer, and an extended special edition with another two minutes of additional footage. Extras include two commentaries, two deleted scenes with commentary, a 55-minute retrospective documentary, a half-hour archival making-of featurette, and the film’s trailers.

‘Avatar’ Reclaims All-Time Box Office Crown Following Imax China Re-Release

A new generation of Chinese moviegoers this weekend flocked to the virtual world of Pandora, as Imax Corporation generated $6.2 million at the box office with the re-release of James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic Avatar, helping it reclaim the all-time box office crown.

Imax theaters captured 30% of the movie’s weekend box office, despite accounting for only 1% of screens in the market. The strong performance helped Avatar once again become the top-grossing theatrical release of all time with more than $2.8 billion in ticket sales. Imax has now earned a lifetime box office of $249.5 million with Avatar, which remains the highest-grossing film in the high-definition 3D format.

“A big-screen sized thank you to Imax for their contribution to the success of Avatar at the box office,” producer Jon Landau said in a statement.

Imax CEO Rich Gelfond says Avatar changed “everything” for the exhibitor’s business model — catapulting brand awareness, notably in China.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Yet again, Chinese moviegoers are demonstrating the pent-up demand for theatrical blockbusters that awaits cinemas around the world as they reopen,” Gelfond said.

The original 2010 Imax 3D release of Avatar in China generated $24 million on only 14 screens — a per screen average of $1.7 million — and playing to round-the-clock sold out shows. The film jumpstarted Imax’s ascent to become one of the most recognized entertainment brands in China.

The following year, the exhibitor signed a 75-theater deal with Wanda — at the time the company’s biggest international theater deal ever — and established Imax China as its own wholly-owned subsidiary of the company. Today, China is Imax’s biggest market in terms of theaters with more than 700, and the market accounts for approximately one-third of the company’s annual global box office.

Nine out of the top 10 performing Chinese theaters screening Avatar over the weekend were Imax, and the film is the highest grossing re-release in 3D since Chinese theaters reopened in July.

With this weekend’s re-release, Avatar reclaimed the box office crown it relinquished to Disney/Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Imax holds a piece of the history of both films. Avengers: Endgame continues to hold the record for the biggest opening weekend of any Imax film ever, with $91.5 million worldwide, and was the second Hollywood film ever to be shot entirely with Imax cameras.

The second and third installments of the “Avatar” franchise are currently slated for December 2022 and 2024, respectively.

James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction


Street Date 7/28/20;
$34.97 DVD or Blu-ray;
Not Rated.
Featuring James Cameron, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott.

This six-episode documentary series hosted by filmmaker James Cameron should prove a fascinating viewing experience for any fan of the title genre, primarily due to the high-caliber talent on display sharing their insights on the topic.

The series is structured with each episode taking on a different topic within the genre: “Alien Life,” “Space Exploration,” “Monsters,” “Dark Futures,” “Intelligent Machines” and “Time Travel.” They run a shade over 40 minutes each on disc, long enough to fill an hour-long time slot when commercials are added in (the series originally aired on AMC in 2018).

Much of the series follows a typical documentary format tracing the history of the episode’s topic, with analysis from various talking heads in the form of critics, authors, actors and filmmakers. Particular emphasis is placed on the various social, political and philosophical underpinnings of various sci-fi stories throughout history. One primary thesis that arises is the notion that science-fiction isn’t about predicting the future, it’s about choosing our future — an observation that demonstrates why there’s still considerable value to older sci-fi tales that might otherwise seem outdated.

Follow us on Instagram!

But the heart of the program involves Cameron sitting for a series of one-on-one interviews with other high-profile directors as they discuss each others work (with no shortage of praise for one another, as could be expected). The stories the directors tell range from the oft-repeated tales that every fan knows, to interesting insights into what guided certain filmmaking decisions, such as how Steven Spielberg adapted much of his childhood into Close Encounters and E.T.

The discussion with George Lucas raises some eyebrows during the A.I. episode, when Cameron says so many movies depict the machines as bad guys, leading to Lucas stating that’s why he decided to depict robots as the good guys in “Star Wars” — the pair apparently sidestepping the fact that Lucas made three “Star Wars” films in which the good guys fought entire armies of evil robots.

Still, the conversations are fun to watch and the various TV and movie clips offer enough nostalgia that any viewer should find something to like.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The bonus section includes extended interviews with Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver. These run about three to four minutes each.

‘James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction’ Coming to Disc July 28 From RLJE

The sci-fi documentary series “James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction” will come out on DVD and Blu-ray July 28 from AMC Networks’ RLJE Films.

The series originally aired on AMC Networks in 2018 as part of the AMC Visionaries series.

The show, an intimate look at science fiction’s roots, its futuristic vision and our fascination with its ideas, is hosted by Academy Award winner James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic). It features interviews with ‘A’-list storytellers, stars and others whose careers have defined the field of science fiction movies and television. Interviewees include Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), George Lucas (“Star Wars” franchise), Ridley Scott (The Martian, Blade Runner), Christopher Nolan (Tenet, Interstellar), Will Smith (Men in Black, I Am Legend), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator, Terminator) and Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Bonus features include extended interviews with Spielberg, Lucas, Scott, Nolan, Guillermo Del Toro and Schwarzenegger.