Too late for a sequel?

Two presentations broke the noise at CinemaCon: Disney promoted James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, while attendees got a first look at Paramount’s long-awaited Tom Cruise sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

Both films come with high expectations… Maverick forecasts are hoping to fetch $250-300 million in domestic sales, more than double Avatar 2’s. Both films are a sequel to what was the highest-grossing film of the year… The question on your mind is, will this success be repeated?

Top Gun was the #1 movie of 1986 36 years ago. Avatar was released 13 years ago, in 2009. Early signs of Maverick suggest you shouldn’t have a problem. “Avatar” grossed nearly $900 million domestically. When it was released, it was a phenomenon that transcended normal food dominance and became an event that evolved through repeated viewing.

But that is a long time ago. Top Gun was a hit for decades, but two-thirds of today’s moviegoers are under 40! Still, first impressions suggest the Maverick has technical prowess and action/flight scenes that surpass the original, and an in-screen experience can yield big wins.

The Avatar sequel is the first of four announced sequels with an estimated cost in excess of $1 billion. Let the “Avatar” debut on December 16 remain unchallenged for now. (Disney will re-release the original film in September.) Cameron’s most recent attempt at a sequel was Terminator 2, which grossed almost ten times the original.

Big question: Do both sequels have enough of what island audiences want? The new “Top Gun” seems to have managed to refresh the nostalgia. “Avatar 2” is still a mystery…

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