Box-office records at stake as Avatar: The Way of Water releases

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Indian movie theatres are counting on James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water—slated to release on Friday, 13 years after the first Avatar movie wowed audiences—to boost box-office collections as local offerings fail to impress filmgoers.

The sequel sold 1 million tickets on BookMyShow as of Wednesday and may surpass the box office records of Indian and Hollywood hits such as Dangal, KGF: Chapter 2 and Avengers: Endgame.

In India, Cameron’s film reported ₹10 crore in advance sales 10 days before release and is being touted as a simple, emotional story with impressive visuals and 3D effects.

“Avatar was one of the first non-superhero films that paved the way for compelling stories to transport audiences into a world of fantasy with the support of design and technology. It is also the film that revolutionized the advent of the 3D format of watching movies in cinemas in India with a large number of theatres adopting and turning into 3D with audience demand,” said Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas, BookMyShow.

Anticipation for the sequel was already high, and advance bookings have been impressive, with the trailer adding to the momentum, Saksena said.

The English version of the film is driving ticket sales on BookMyShow but is closely followed by the Hindi version, with Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad seeing strong advance sales.

With a screen count of 3,500, Avatar 2 is expected to be among the biggest releases of this year across all available formats, including 3D and IMAX versions.

While Marvel superhero movies dominate the Hollywood market in India, theatre owners say the Avatar brand has enduring appeal.

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