Avatar and the decline of theaters

publishedabout 2 months ago
2 min read

Avatar and the decline of theaters

Welcome to Nonrival, the newsletter where readers make predictions.

How it works

  1. On Sundays, read the newsletter and make a forecast by clicking a link at the bottom.
  2. On Wednesdays, see what other readers predicted and how your forecast compares.
  3. Over time, you’ll get scores based on how accurate your forecasts are.

In this issue

  • Avatar forecasts, compared

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Two things can be true: Avatar 2 has a chance to be one of the biggest movie openings of all time and movie theaters are likely in decline.

That's the gist of this week's forecast: You collectively give Avatar 2 about a 4-in-10 chance of clearing $200 million on its opening weekend but also most of you don't think theaters are coming all the way back.

Despite the overall pessimism on theaters, readers are (a bit) more bullish on Avatar 2.

Overall, Nonrival readers are more bullish than the forecasters on Good Judgment Open, a prediction platform. There the crowd forecast is just a 24% chance of a $200M+ opening weekend.

Readers' responses

The case for Avatar skepticism: The movie has to actually be good

5%: The movie will not be good; if it was good, like Spider-Man, then maybe it could break that ceiling.
15%: The appeal of the first movie was a moment in time for technology; it doesn’t seem likely that this one will elicit the same excitement.

The case for uncertainty: Nostalgia is powerful but unpredictable

30%: I think people will be plenty receptive to continued theatrical showings, provided that they offer an experience unmatched by the comfort of streaming. Some movies are simply made to be theater fare--such as the first Avatar... The question is not whether audiences will wait for the sequel to arrive on streaming, but rather whether the movie will be front-ended or long-tailed in its large gross... As D'Alessandro said, Avatar "will play and play" without fanboys cramming the weekend. However, nostalgia pays massive dividends: Jurassic World is at spot number 6 for greatest opening and The Lion King (2019) is at 9... We'll see if late 2000s nostalgia is as powerful as 90s nostalgia. My bet is that it's not.
50%: People still like the shared social experience, but gun violence makes some timid and as more build home viewing “entertainment rooms” there are more options for the sub-social experience.

The case for a big opening weekend: Holiday viewing, plus Avatar is still a huge deal

85%: Avatar has a stronger brand than Dr. Strange.
85%: If Spiderman: No Way Home can do it, so can Avatar 2
100%: It's Avatar. And December.

How your forecast compares

  • You said there was a [120422_FINAL GOES HERE]% chance of Avatar 2 grossing $200M opening weekend.

  • You predicted that the average of readers' forecasts would be [120422_CROWD GOES HERE]%. The actual average was 41%. You were closer than [120422_CROWD_RANK GOES HERE]% of readers.


Coming up...

Stay tuned for some special end of year features from Nonrival in the next couple of weeks.