The long-anticipated Avatar: The Way of Water has finally emerged from 20th Century Studios and the Disney Umbrella, opening in theaters today. But like Disney’s previous box office attempts, this will also face drawbacks and resistance from theaters.
Disney’s 2022 box office has been plagued with issues reportedly due to the company’s insistence on pushing “woke” LGBTQ+ narratives, from Pixar’s Lightyear to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Strange World. Foreign nations have banned the movies entirely or given them an adult rating due to the content, and many viewers domestically opted to wait until the film was dropped on Disney+ to watch them at all.
But the issue with Director James Cameron’s Avatar sequel is different. Instead of dissenting against Hollywood’s agenda, international theater owners appear to be rebelling against Disney’s proposed distribution deal.
According to reports coming out of India, “the studio is asking 70 per cent share from exhibitors. A source from the exhibition sector told Bollywood Hungama, “The studio is asking for 70% percentage share from exhibitors, which is unprecedented and something we’ve never heard for a Hollywood film before. Many theatres agreed while some managed to get it down to 65%. We offered to share 60% of the revenue. But Disney insists on 70%. That won’t work for us. It’s not practically feasible.”
Since movie theaters began reopening after the pandemic, studios like Disney have worked to try and find ways to lower the financial risk of theatrical releases. For example, the window of exclusivity that theater owners have with the films has decreased as studios prioritized their new streaming platforms. Now, this report appears to show that studios are trying to get even more money from the cinemas.
Disney did not appear to comment on the matter, and it is unclear if any other theater owners across the world are standing up to this deal.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney Movie news and stories as more developments come to light.