The sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar” hits theaters on Dec. 16—over a decade after the original won three Academy Awards and grossed over $2.8 billion at the worldwide box office, an all-time record. Despite the thirteen-year gap, the franchise’s return to theaters with “Avatar: The Way of Water” has been a splashy one, the culmination of immense fan hype and an expansive marketing campaign.
Asad Ayaz, president of marketing at Walt Disney Studios, said the goal of marketing what could become one of the highest grossing films of the year, or perhaps ever, was to “position this as the motion picture event of a generation—that was copy we actually used in advertising materials—and really set this up as something unique, something special. A spectacle.”
From the beginning, Disney, which won the rights to “Avatar” with its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in 2019, has woven promotion for “The Way of Water” into its other IP. After premiering at CinemaCon, the first teaser played exclusively in theaters ahead of Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” The first teaser garnered 149 million views in the first 24 hours following its online release, as well as 193,000 social mentions, Disney reported.