“Avatar” is not only breaking away from “Avengers: Endgame” on the all-time box office charts thanks to its re-release in China, but it now has also grossed more in the past 10 days than Disney’s remake of “Mulan” did with Chinese audiences.
In the second weekend of its re-release, the 2009 James Cameron blockbuster added $14 million, falling just 33% from the $21 million it made last weekend to retake the all-time box office crown from “Endgame.” With a 10-day re-release total of $44 million, “Avatar” has now passed the $41 million that Disney’s live-action”Mulan” grossed in China last September.
While “Mulan” received a generally positive response in the U.S. from critics but a lukewarm reception from fans of the 1998 animated film, it was criticized by Chinese audiences who viewed it as an inaccurate, Americanized version of one of the most beloved tales in Chinese culture. Despite Disney’s hopes that the film would appeal to Chinese audiences with homegrown stars like Liu Yifei and Gong Li headlining the cast, “Mulan” only made about a third of the $120 million that the “Lion King” remake made in China.
“Avatar,” meanwhile, has always been popular in China, still holding a 9.3/10 on popular movie site Maoyan and sporting a $202 million Chinese gross during its initial theatrical run. Last weekend, it became the first Hollywood blockbuster this year to take the No. 1 spot on the country’s box office charts, taking advantage of a theatrical market that has grown radically since it first hit the big screen over a decade ago.
Depending on how well “Avatar” holds over the next couple of weeks, the re-release could become the highest grossing Hollywood film in China since the pandemic forced theaters to close there in January 2020. That bar has been set by Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which grossed $66 million in China last summer. Other films “Avatar” can pass include Pixar’s “Soul” ($57 million) and Universal/DreamWorks’ “The Croods: A New Age” ($53 million).
Overall, “Avatar” now has a lifetime box office total of $2.83 billion, putting it approximately $36 million ahead of the total for “Avengers: Endgame.”