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James Cameron’s original “Avatar” will make its broadcast debut this weekend ahead of the debut of its sequel “The Way of Water,” which hits theaters Dec. 16.

The 2009 film, which remains the highest-grossing film of all time unadjusted for inflation, will air on ABC on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. PT/ET. It will also air on FX on Dec. 15 and 18, followed by Freeform on Dec. 26. The film was also made available to stream on Disney+ last month ahead of the anticipated sequel.

The original “Avatar” is considered a pioneer in the world of technical production, using 3D motion capture animation and CGI to create a photorealistic world on a scale that no other film had mounted at the time. Although Cameron began working on the film in the ’90s, he had to wait for later technology in order to create the iconic world of Pandora.

The film originally hit Disney+ in 2019 as part of the streamer’s Launch Day, but garnered some criticism for not including the film’s extended cut as part of the special edition’s many features. After leaving the platform around the film’s theatrical rerelease earlier in the fall, the film has now returned to the platform.

“The Way of Water,” which is releasing 13 years after the original, is set more than a decade after the events of the first film. The story follows the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri and their kids) as they leave their homes to venture into the regions of Pandora. When an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake is once again forced to wage a battle against the humans. The film stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, Giovanni Rabisi and Kate Winslet.

See the “Avatar” broadcast schedule below and stream the 2009 film on Disney+ here.


Sunday, Dec. 11, 7:00-10:30 p.m. EST/PST 


Thursday, Dec. 15, 8:00-11:30 p.m. EST/PST

Sunday, Dec. 18, 8:00-11:30 p.m. EST/PST


Monday, Dec. 26, 7:30-11:00 p.m. EST/PST

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