On November 8, The Walt Disney Company held its 4th Quarter Earnings Call, and the results were not what the company hoped for. While Disney CEO Bob Chapek boasted that Disney had made an incredible $28 billion in profit, Disney’s “price-per-user” was below what analysts predicted, as was Disney’s profit margin in its Parks, Products, and Experiences division. That evening, Disney’s stock took a big hit, much bigger than the overall hit that the stock market in general took.
During the earnings call, Chapek spoke about Disney’s upcoming projects, and specifically mentioned Avatar: The Way of Water, which will be released in theaters on December 16, 2022. The sequel comes 13 years after the original film and will star Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang.
Avatar is one of the highest-grossing films of all time, and Chapek thinks that Avatar: The Way of Water has the potential to be just as successful. Chapek said:
The highly anticipated “Avatar: The Way of Water” opens on December 16th and is the sequel to the highest grossing film of all time.
James Cameron and his team have once again created something truly magical using groundbreaking technology. Audiences are as excited as we are to return to Pandora. And given the strong performance of September’s rerelease of the original “Avatar,” we can’t wait for the film to hit screens.
While Chapek is convinced of the film’s success, Avatar creator and director James Cameron isn’t as sure. In fact, Cameron said that if Avatar: The Way of Water doesn’t do well, he is prepared to cancel the fourth and fifth films (the third is nearly complete and will be released regardless).
“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘OK, let’s complete the story within Movie 3, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable. We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even. It’s the one-two punch — the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s— now?”
Avatar 3 is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2024. Should Cameron decide to complete and release the fourth and fifth films in the franchise, Avatar 4 would come out on December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 would be released on December 22, 2028.