“Avatar 2: Way of Water” starts pre-sale

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In Cinema No. 5, Fang Yuan patrolled along the rows of seats, carefully inspected the screen and firefighting equipment, and gestured an “OK” gesture to the projectionist behind the monitor.

This workflow has long been proficient, but today, Fang Yuan was a little nervous— only one ticket was sold for this movie , and he bet with the projectionist whether the audience would come, and the bet was a pack of cigarettes.

The movie begins. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, Fangyuan couldn’t wait for the only audience. The projectionist smiled and cut off the source of the broadcast. According to the rules, the show will stop after 15 minutes if the show is empty to save power. Fang Yuan lost a pack of cigarettes.

Entering November, the epidemic situation has become more and more severe, and empty venues have become the norm. Sometimes only a dozen or so spectators come here for a whole day, and the ticket price is not even enough for a day’s electricity bill.

Not only was the hall completely lonely, but there were only three people including Fang Yuan, the projectionist, and the conductor outside the theater in a theater of hundreds of square meters. In order to save costs, the theater has started a shift system, so that each person can only get wages for more than ten days a month.

“It’s good to be open.” The theater manager said half-jokingly and half-seriously, “Those theaters that are closed may not have the money to pay their employees for the New Year.”

The real situation may be worse. In November, the operating rate of theaters across the country fell below 40%, and the box office also hit a new low. Just a few days ago, seven Emperor UA Cinemas across the country announced the termination of operations and voluntarily submitted applications for bankruptcy liquidation.

The landlord’s family has no food left, not to mention those small theaters that can’t make ends meet. Ren Li, who runs two theaters, told “Chinese Entrepreneur”: ” More than 80% of my peers are losing money this year. Arrears of wages, rent, and low-price transfers are common. ” Almost all theater operators are teetering on the verge of collapse. , Waiting for a glimmer of life to pull them out of the quagmire of life and death.


Source: “Avatar 2” promotional poster

“It’s fixed! “Avatar 2″ is finalized!!!” Ren Li’s group of peers suddenly burst into cheers, and a series of exclamation points dazzled her. Seeing the official poster of “Avatar: The Way of Water” (hereinafter referred to as “Avatar 2”) – on December 16, Ren Li also became excited: “There is hope, such a blockbuster movie at this time is equivalent to ‘Extend your life’ for everyone, and it will definitely be no problem to pay back before the end of the year!”

But soon, Ren Li fell into worry again, and the two theaters in her hand were still shut down. If they couldn’t resume work before the release of “Avatar 2” on December 16, they might really have to go bankrupt.

“Avatar 2” is the last straw for this year’s theaters. Ren Li, who never believes in ghosts and gods, worships all kinds of gods and gods in her heart, praying not to miss this blockbuster.

“Avatar”, released in 2009, is a myth in the minds of all filmmakers – this film directed by James Cameron has maintained the global box office champion for ten years with a box office of 3 billion US dollars, and it has also become the first box office break in Mainland China. 1 billion movies . What is more exciting than the box office is that the 3D technology of “Avatar” set off a global revolution in film technology, which led to a sharp increase in the number of domestic IMAX screens and the rise of the entire film industry.

It is reported that “Avatar 2” continues the story of the previous work Pandora and the Na’vi. The key background setting is underwater, and high-quality motion capture is almost completed underwater. This movie has also become the most anticipated movie by movie fans around the world this year. According to Maoyan, as of 8:00 am on December 6, a total of more than 1.224 million people wanted to watch this movie, ranking first in the “Maoyan Want to Watch List”.

All theater people are nervously waiting for “Avatar 2”, whether they can resume work before the release determines their fate. If it catches up, it means that the revenue of the fourth quarter of the theater is guaranteed. If it fails to catch up, maybe the only way to go is to go bankrupt and stop losses.

01 Waiting for Avatar

Few doubt that “Avatar 2” will be a hit.

The scene of the packed theater 13 years ago is still engraved in Fang Yuan’s mind. At that time, Fang Yuan had just entered university, and “Avatar” became the latest topic of conversation among classmates. Anyone who hadn’t watched “Avatar” was an outdated “old hat”. In order to catch up with the trend, Fang Yuan and his roommate got up at 5:00 a.m. and went to line up at the only cinema in the city center that supported 3D screenings. Although it is the twelfth lunar month of winter, the small square at the entrance of the cinema is still crowded with people scrambling for tickets. There are also many scalpers struggling to shuttle among them, selling “Avatar” movie tickets at three to five times the price.

No matter from the perspective of feelings, technology, vision or story, the box office appeal of the IP “Avatar” is unparalleled. On November 23, after 20th Century Pictures announced that “Avatar: The Way of Water” was finalized in mainland China, the stock prices of many listed film companies with the main business of theaters rose rapidly. %, Wanda Films , Alibaba Pictures, Maoyan Entertainment , Shanghai Films, Hengdian Films and other stocks all followed suit.

“”Avatar 2″ will definitely be hard to find a ticket, provided that the theaters are open.” In Ren Li’s group, a colleague said helplessly. Someone gave her advice: “It doesn’t matter whether it can be opened or not, first order derivative products and open pre-sales, even if the ticket is refunded at that time, you can’t miss this wave.”

Ren Li told “Chinese Entrepreneur” that although the release notice has not yet come out, the fast-moving colleagues have already sold more than 100,000 pre-sale vouchers, and all the money they got has been paid for the rent. If there is a change in the issuance, or if the normal business cannot be operated, there is no money to refund, which is equivalent to a desperate attempt.

She hasn’t received the notice of resumption of work yet, but Ren Li is afraid that there won’t be enough 3D glasses after opening, so she urgently ordered a batch. The manufacturer told her that on the day “Avatar 2” was finalized, the factory received orders for millions of pairs of 3D glasses. Fang Yuan also planned to discuss with the manager and hire a few temporary workers to do the work on the spot, otherwise the zero point scene would definitely be too busy.


Source: “Avatar 2” promotional poster

“Avatar 2” is 190 minutes long, which is equivalent to the length of two ordinary movies. If there are too many films for Avatar, the film schedule for other movies will be doubled, but most theaters still decide to schedule no less than half of the films for “Avatar 2”.

Regarding the pricing, colleagues in the theater chain are also discussing repeatedly. Some people think that the sign of “Avatar” will be paid for no matter how high it goes up, and the price must be raised;

Everyone is saving their strength, waiting to welcome the Avatar. However, there are still uncertainties. According to the Lighthouse Data Professional Edition, the total number of operating theaters nationwide on December 6 was only 5,856, with an operating rate of 47.1%. If theaters cannot resume work, all efforts may be in vain.

Even so, theaters still plan to give it a go, “because “Avatar” is worth the risk.”

02 Hard winter

In 2022, dark clouds hang over every filmmaker.

According to the Lighthouse Data Professional Edition, the total box office in the mainland in 2022 has so far been only 28.5 billion, falling back to the level of 2014. The total box office in 2021 is 47 billion, compared to 64.1 billion in 2019 before the epidemic.

This year has not yet produced a real “explosive style”. In 2021, there are 11 movies with a box office of over 1 billion. So far this year, there have only been 7 movies. “Changjin Lake: Water Gate Bridge”, which topped the list, was not even in the top three last year.

Ren Li joked: “The blood pressure of filmmakers is almost higher than the box office. The annual net profit of mainland movies this year may not be as good as last year’s “Changjin Lake”.”

Without high-quality movies and the impact of the epidemic, audiences are increasingly reluctant to go to movie theaters. Some viewers told “Chinese Entrepreneur” that they would rather watch “Xiao Shuai Xiao Mei” at home than waste time and money going to the cinema to watch bad movies.

The demand for movie viewing has shifted online, the supply of new films is insufficient, and offline control is strict. The Chinese film market is going through the worst stage, and it has also fallen into a vicious circle: audiences cannot go to theaters-there are few films in theaters-distributors are unwilling to release Movies – there are no good movies in theaters – audiences don’t want to go to theaters to see bad movies.

After “Avatar 2” is finalized, the vicious circle to break through is: good movies are coming, but movie theaters are gone.

The theater where Fang Yuan works has 6 halls in total, and the rent is fixed. Each movie needs to pay electricity bills, sub-accounts, manpower costs, and equipment maintenance costs. The daily operating cost is at least 5,000 yuan. The number of movie viewers must reach 170 to maintain capital. Fang Yuan hasn’t seen this number of audiences for a long time. This poor attendance rate is equal to losing money every day. Sometimes there are more people who come to the theater for a lunch break in the massage chair at noon than those who watch the movie.

“Can you open a separate hall for lunch break service?” Fang Yuan had an idea. The manager listened to his idea and readily approved it. Earning a little money is better than emptying the market every day. But not long after the lunch break service was implemented, employees in nearby office buildings have also been quarantined at home one after another.

In fact, in order to save themselves, many movie theaters have launched new businesses. In addition to lunch breaks, they have also launched businesses such as script killing, wedding rental, talk show performances, and the recent hot booking to watch the World Cup. The employees of theaters that implement the rotation system can only do more part-time jobs in order to make money. Fang Yuan’s colleagues will go for takeaways during their rotations.

03 Rescue the market cannot rely solely on Avatar

Under the cold winter, filmmakers are extremely difficult. At this time, “Avatar 2”, which fell from the sky, is it a “savior” or a flash in the pan?

In fact, all filmmakers have the answer in their hearts. “Avatar 2” can only save a temporary emergency, not the root cause.

Due to the large uncertainty in the offline situation, the box office forecast for “Avatar 2” in the industry is generally around 2.5 billion yuan. If the theater “should be opened as much as possible”, the box office may still double.

According to the analysis of CITIC Construction Investment, the recent news of the resumption of domestic films and the introduction of imported films may be a signal for the recovery of the supply side, but the demand side still needs blockbuster movies to stimulate the demand for movie viewing. Obviously, “Avatar 2” has taken on this important task, and it may not be able to create a new box office record, but it can help boost confidence in the industry.

At present, there are still few high-quality movies scheduled for New Year’s Day and Spring Festival. Many producers would rather postpone it than wait until a safer schedule.

Ren Li told “Chinese Entrepreneur” that according to past data, movies that are “bundled” with hit movies or have a similar schedule can also achieve good results.


Source: “Avatar 2” promotional poster

The release of “Avatar 2” may call on the audience to re-enter the cinema, warm up the market, and make more high-quality films willing to return in the next schedule.

When policies support the creative end, offline business resistance decreases, high-quality films are released stably, and the frequency of audience viewing increases, the vicious cycle will be broken, and the film industry will have the opportunity to get out of the predicament and regain its vitality.

Ren Li can’t think about such distant things. She only cares about whether the theater can resume work in the near future and whether “Avatar 2” can be released as scheduled, so that she can have cash flow to pay employees for the New Year.

The good news is that from December 1st to December 6th, the number of theaters resuming work across the country has been increasing day by day. According to this trend, before the release of “Avatar 2”, there may be more than 60% of theaters operating rate.

“I hope everyone can catch up with Avatar.” After clicking to send successfully, Ren Li couldn’t help but feel a sore nose. This is the biggest wish of this year’s theater people.

This article comes from the WeChat public account “China Entrepreneur Magazine” (ID: iceo-com-cn) , author: Deng Shuanglin, editor: Li Wei, 36 Krypton is authorized to publish.

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