Despite James Cameron’s epic sci-fi sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, initially securing its release to China, Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong had something to say about the sequel concerning the Chinese audiences’ stance on it. Global Times reported that CEO Dong made an appearance at the 4th Hainan International Film Festival to say, as translated from Mandarin: “[Avatar: The Way of Water] is not suitable for Chinese audiences.”
Given that China rarely gives the opportunity for Hollywood movies to hit their domestic theaters, Avatar 2 making their way was already a huge step for a Disney film. In comparison to its previously banned films such as Pixar’s Lightyear for its LGBTQ+ representation, Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder, Avatar: The Way of Water was the first of Hollywood film since Minions: The Rise of Gru to arrive in China’s theaters.
Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in China limiting entrance from international films, and clearly more set on their propaganda to promote focusing on their domestically-produced forms of media rather than taking example from ‘outsiders’ content.
However, in spite of Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong’s statement on behalf of the Chinese audiences, many Chinese critics and viewers contrast with the CEO’s claims as they have thoroughly praised Cameron’s Avatar sequel. In fact, James Cameron’s goal of ‘breaking even’, given the whopping $350 million budget they have invested to create his film, is on its route for solid success. As of now, Avatar 2’s Chinese box office had resulted with $143 million, which could potentially grow if it weren't for the ongoing pandemic.
With Avatar 2 mainly focusing on its many cultures and the importance of keeping the family together, it is questionable as to how CEO Dong would deem the film to ‘not be suitable’ in spite of its financial and viewership success thus far.
Avatar: The Way of Water is still in theaters worldwide.