Avatar 2's Massively Expensive Budget Finally Gets Revealed

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Jake Sully, Neytiri

Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron previously mentioned that making the sequel was "very f**king expensive," and now, a new report has shed some light on its massively costly budget. 

The upcoming sequel took over a decade (13 years exactly) before its eventual release due to multiple setbacks. One of such challenges boiled down to its budget, with past reports claiming that Avatar 2 costs $250 million to make. 

In addition, it was also reported that the budget for the four planned sequels from the Avatar franchise totaled out to a whopping $1 billion in total, averaging about $250 million in budget per movie.

Ahead of its December release, new details about Avatar 2's budget have been unearthed. 

How Much is Avatar 2's Budget?

Avatar The Way of the Water Characters

Avatar: The Way of the Water's budget was reported to be one of the priciest in Hollywood's history as The Hollywood Reporter (THR)'s sources noted that it is between the range of $350 million to $400 million. 

In comparison, the budget for the first Avatar movie was $237 million. 

The current most expensive movie in Hollywood is 2011's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, with the Johnny-Depp-led film having a budget of $379 million (unadjusted for inflation). If Avatar 2's budget is higher than On Stranger Tides, then it could become the most expensive movie of all time 

Disney and 20th Century Fox, via THR, also revealed that Avatar 2 has officially landed a coveted release in China, making it one of the few Hollywood tentpoles to theatrically debut in the country since the pandemic began. The sequel is also confirmed to open in the Middle Kingdom on Friday, December 16, which is the same day it hits North American theaters. 

The first Avatar was a big hit in China, earning a hefty $261.8 million after several re-releases on its way to becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time.

To cap it all off, The Way of Water is also set to be released in IMAX theaters in China. 

THR's sources mentioned that discussions for Avatar 2's release in China have been in the works "for weeks," but the announcement came two days after news of Bob Iger's return as CEO of the Walt Disney Co amid Bob Chapek's departure

Will Avatar 2 Reach Similar Box Office Success as its Predecessor?

Avatar 2 director James Cameron's latest comments about the film being "expensive" is understandable now that the budget range for the sequel has been revealed. 

It is unknown if Avatar: The Way of the Water will achieve similar box office success as the first film, but it seems that it is required to earn a major haul in order to break even. 

Cameron even outright claimed that Avatar 2 needs to "be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history" to achieve success, saying that it's the "threshold."

While the sequel's release in China is expected to help it earn a major box-office haul, it will all depend on the movie's legs after its reported $150-$170 million opening weekend numbers. 

If Avatar 2 doesn't achieve similar numbers, then it would pose potential problems for its future sequels. 

Hopefully, the sequel's groundbreaking combined with its emotional (and tragic) story is more than enough for fans to catch Avatar: The Way of Water when it premieres in theaters on Friday, December 16.

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.