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How to watch Avatar before Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters

Go back to check out Pandora before the new adventures begin.

Published onDecember 14, 2022

avatar 2 3

Avatar: The Way of Water is the last big movie release of 2022. The long-awaited sequel to 2009’s sci-fi epic Avatar, this second movie may also be the most expensive film ever made. Its writer and director James Cameron recently stated in a GQ interview that he told Disney and 20th Century Studios executives that it had “to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.” So while you may be getting ready to head back to Pandora in theaters, you may want to watch or rewatch the original film ahead of time. So here’s how to watch Avatar before Avatar: The Way of Water debuts in theaters on Thursday, December 15.

Best way to watch Avatar before Avatar 2: Disney Plus

A still from the movie Avatar - best movies on Disney Plus Hotstar
Twentieth Century Studios

The absolute best and easiest way for anyone to watch Avatar before Avatar 2 is to stream the original film on Disney Plus. The first Avatar film was included in the streaming service’s initial launch back in 2019. However, earlier this year, the movie was removed from the service because Disney re-released Avatar to theaters in September as a way to promote Avatar: The Way of Water. Thankfully, the removal was short-lived, and Disney Plus has added Avatar back to the streaming service once again.

Sign up for Disney Plus annually before December 8

Disney Plus Hotstar On Android TV

If you haven’t signed up for Disney Plus yet, we would highly suggest you do so on its annual plan ASAP. Currently, the price of the service is $7.99 a month or $79.99 for a yearly subscription. However, all that changes on December 8. On that date, the price of Disney Plus on the current monthly plan goes up to $10.99 a month, with the annual plan going up to $109.99. Disney Plus will also introduce a new monthly plan, with ads and without some other features, for $7.99 a month. If you want to lock in the current low price for the no-ads plan, you should sign up for the annual plan before December 8 at its current $79.99 price point.

The Disney Plus logo.
Disney Plus
Disney Plus offers thousands of TV episodes and movies from across the Disney library, including its Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel shows and films, along with exclusive TV series and movies.

Other ways to watch Avatar

If you are a physical media fan, you can purchase a disc version of Avatar in DVD, Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D formats on Amazon.

You can also outright purchase and download or stream the SD or HD digital versions of the movie from several sources, including Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, and Google Play, Currently, the price to rent the movie is $3.99, while purchasing the film is $14.99. It’s possible that those prices could go down when we get closer to Avatar 2’s release to theaters.

Why isn’t Avatar available to buy or stream in 4K UHD?


You would think that the movie that is currently the worldwide box office champion ($2.9 billion, due in part to several re-releases in theaters), would have a 4K UHD disk or be available to buy or stream on Disney Plus in a 4K UHD edition. Unfortunately, the reason that has not happened is due completely to its writer-director James Cameron. None of the movies he has directed have been made available in the 4K format for home viewing. In fact, in doing research for this article, we found that two of his films, The Abyss and True Lies, currently cannot be purchased in a digital format at all, 4K or otherwise.

There is hope, however. In its latest re-release to theaters in September, Avatar got an upgrade to a new 4K UHD version with HDR support that was supervised by Cameron. Hopefully, that new remaster will find its way to disks and digital purchases, and also on Disney Plus, sooner rather than later. A 4K version of Titanic is also scheduled for release in theaters in early 2023 as well.

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