'Avatar' Re-Release Has Outgrossed 'Mulan' in China

Since its re-release in China earlier this month, Avatar has already seen sky-high success — winning back its title as highest-grossing movie of all time, and adding tens of millions to is already absurd $2.83 billion total haul. One more achievement to add to the 10-year-old movie’s list: surpassing Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, which was generally rejected by Chinese audiences when it hit theaters last year.

The Wrap reports that in just 10 days, the Avatar re-release has already grossed more than Mulan did in its entire run in China. The 2009 James Cameron blockbuster has raked in $44 million since it re-opened in Chinese theaters on March 9, surpassing the $41 million haul of Disney’s live-action Mulan remake.

In its second week since its re-release, Avatar took in $14 million, falling just 33% from its opening weekend haul of $21 million. Still, it’s better than what Mulan made during its entire run in China last September, falling short of expectations for the Disney adaptation of a beloved Chinese legend. This, despite Disney’s obvious attempts to appeal to the Chinese market — by stacking the cast with homegrown stars like Liu Yifei, Gong Li, and Donnie Yen, and deliberately infusing the film with values and themes that were designed to connect with Chinese audiences. However, perhaps owing to the many domestic adaptations of Mulan or the transparency of Disney’s catering to Chinese audiences, the country soundly rejected the film.

Avatar, however, has always enjoyed massive success in China, where it earned a whopping $202 million during its initial theatrical run. Last weekend, it became the first Hollywood blockbuster this year to take the number one spot in China’s box office charts. And depending on how well it continues to perform, the Avatar re-release could become the highest grossing Hollywood film in China since the pandemic closed theaters in January 2020. It only has to surpass Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which grossed $66 million in China last summer.

But, like the “triumph” that Avatar enjoyed over Avengers: Endgame last week, it’s not that much of a loss for Disney, in the end. The House of Mouse owns 20th Century Studios, which distributes Avatar, which can more than make up for the sting of Mulan‘s box office disappointment. It’s likely for each of these updates on Avatar‘s box office during its re-release run in China, the stories will play out like Disney going for another round against…Disney.

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