Avatar: The Way of Water’s streaming release date has been revealed. In its multi-month theatrical run, the Avatar sequel garnered massive box office success, sailing to become the third highest grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office. To date, Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed a whopping $2.3 billion at the box office. After departing IMAX screens in the winter, the film returned to select IMAX screens in honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, over four months after the film’s initial release.
Viewers will soon have another option to screen the film at home, as its streaming date has been announced. According to the official Avatar Twitter account, Avatar: The Way of Water will be available for streaming on July 7 on Disney+. It will also be available to stream on Max (formerly HBO Max) thanks to a rights deal with Disney.
Why Is Avatar: The Way of Water’s Streaming Release Date So Delayed?
While other Disney productions such as Turning Red and Mulan have recently released directly to Disney+, the platform has taken a far different approach with Avatar: The Way of Water. Even for a Disney work that has gotten a theatrical release, waiting nearly seven months for a Disney+ release is substantial. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s Disney+ release, for instance, came only three months after its theatrical release date. Like Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was successful theatrically, but unlike Avatar 2, the Black Panther sequel released on November 11, 2022 and hit Disney+ in February 2023.
Taking this example into consideration, Avatar: The Way of Water’s delayed release is about more than just encouraging audiences to go to theaters. Avatar: The Way of Water was billed as not only a great film, but a journey that can only be truly experienced in cinemas, an effort that was further pushed by the Earth Day IMAX Avatar: The Way of Water screenings. Disney did not go so far as to ban a streaming release entirely, but they certainly delayed it for as long as possible.
As seen in the case of 2009’s Avatar, however, Avatar: The Way of Water’s Disney+ release could be only temporary. Shortly before its re-release in theaters, Avatar was yanked from the streaming platform. With Avatar 3 coming in 2024, Disney may well repeat the same pattern should both Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water be given re-release opportunities. Avatar: The Way of Water’s streaming release date will please franchise fans for now, but its availability is far from guaranteed.
Source: Avatar / Twitter