Never Woke Enough: James Cameron’s Avatar 2 Underperforms Amid Storms of Outrage
Legendary filmmaker James Cameron released his first major film in 13 years last week with the long-awaited sequel to the 2009 cultural phenomenon Avatar, Disney’s Avatar: The Way of Water.
The movie, like the first, focuses on humanity’s mistreatment of the natural world, with which Cameron draws thinly veiled parallels to current issues like climate change and the narrative surrounding it. Cameron is one of Hollywood’s most eco-aware and frankly ‘woke’ celebrities, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. He made the “Way of Water” cast go vegan, invested in plant-based food initiatives, and spent his hard-earned Hollywood clout on message projects like “The Game Changers.”
Cameron even tried to actively ‘out-woke’ the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of female empowerment by including pregnant female warriors in “The Way of Water.”
“To me, it was the last bastion that you don’t see. Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel — all these other amazing women come up, but they’re not moms, and they’re not pregnant while they’re fighting evil.”
While women’s pregnancy qualifying as a leftist virtue is debatable, Cameron made his allegiances clear when he blasted male testosterone, calling it a “toxin” that needs to be purged from the body.
Despite Cameron’s ideological priorities and the massive success of the original Avatar film, it brought in $56 million for the weekend ending Sunday, representing a 58.2 percent decline from its debut last weekend. This can partially be attributed to the bomb cyclone that essentially shut down the midwest, but the film has also flopped abroad. The movie earned $57.1 million in China on its opening weekend, far below the $120 million expected. Still, both figures are dwarfed by the first Avatar, which grossed more than $200 million.
At the same time, Cameron has been criticized from the left flank, with multiple critics laying into his work of stealing from indigenous cultures and being full of “white savior” tropes.
Disney’s stock is on track for its worst performance since 1974 and has experienced a blitz of bad news this year, including weak profitability, as evident here. Disney also fought with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the state’s Parental Rights in Education Act. The company has increasingly embraced radical LGBTQ activism and has incorporated transgender ideology into its entertainment for children.
However, with financial signals like these, capitalism always wins. The poor projected stock performance prompted the firing of CEO Bob Chapek and the return of former CEO Bob Iger, who, while still a genuine product of Hollywood, places higher weight on profit margins and has resolved to return to political neutrality.
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