Avatar has left Disney+ ahead of the franchise’s highly-anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water and its re-release in theaters, raising questions as to when it will return to the streaming platform. James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction epic Avatar broke several box office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time, even surpassing Cameron’s own Titanic. Avatar was considered revolutionary thanks to its innovative visual effects techniques, including motion capture animation technologies.
The sequel, Avatar 2 is set over a decade after the events of the first film, and will detail the trials and tribulations the Sully’s Na’vi family endures while fighting to survive. Among those confirmed to return from Avatar are Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Stephen Lang. Despite her character’s death, Sigourney Weaver will return in Avatar 2, but in a different role. Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, and Vin Diesel are just some of the revered actors joining the cast.
In addition to Avatar 2, three other Avatar sequels are set to premier every two years, in 2024, 2026, and 2028. Ahead of these exciting entries to the Avatar franchise, 20th Century Fox is re-releasing the original movie in theaters. However, this has resulted in the unfortunate disappearance of the film from Disney+’s streaming catalog.
Why Has Avatar Been Removed From Disney+?
The quiet removal of Avatar from Disney+ is likely an effort to drive ticket sales ahead of its theatrical re-release. With the Avatar movie’s long-awaited sequel just around the corner, its removal may also be an effort to squeeze profits out of movie-lovers who are interested in re-watching the film, but would have done so from the comfort of their own homes. With remastered audio and picture, being forced to see the original in theaters may also prompt more interest in experiencing the sequel on the big screen too.
When Does Avatar Re-Release In Movie Theaters (& For How Long)?
Avatar’s re-release is scheduled for September 23rd, 2022. Though there is no confirmation, the film will likely remain in theaters until the end of November, similar to its original 8-week run. This will also avoid its re-release encroaching on the December 16th release of Avatar 2.
When Will Avatar Return To Disney+?
No announcement as to whether Avatar will return to Disney+ has been made, though Disney’s Avatar 2 release may hint when a possible return could happen. If Avatar 2 has a similar 8-week run in theaters to its predecessor, the sequel will probably hit Disney+ in the early spring of 2023. Presumably, this is when the streaming service will bring back the original film, so they can be viewed in tandem.
The theatrical re-release of Avatar ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water isn’t alone; Disney is also re-releasing its Star Wars prequel Rogue One on August 26th, before the September premiere of Andor. Additionally, Sony is re-releasing Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home on September 1, with an extended-cut. While it seems limited to larger franchises, re-releases are evidently gaining popularity. Though they are likely a simple cash-grab, re-releases provide these larger-than-life movies a second chance to be enjoyed as intended – on the big screen.