Avatar Removed From Disney+ for Theatrical Re-Release, but Will Return Before Sequel Premieres

With its library of Marvel films, Disney animation classics and “Star Wars” installments, Disney+ has one of the largest catalogues of blockbuster films on streaming platforms. But recently, subscribers have noticed the biggest film is missing: James Cameron’s “Avatar,” the highest-grossing movie of all time, has been quietly removed from the service with no prior announcement.

Sources confirmed the removal to Variety and attributed it to the upcoming theatrical re-release of the 2009 sci-fi epic. Set for Sept. 23, the theatrical re-release, intended to promote the film’s long awaited sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water,” will present the movie in new, 4K high-dynamic range restoration. The original “Avatar” will have a limited, two-week run.

While the news might be annoying for fans who wanted to watch “Avatar” from the comfort of their homes, the film’s absence won’t be for very long. Sources confirmed that the film will return to Disney+ at an unspecified time before Dec. 16 — the release date for “The Way of Water.” In the meantime, the film remains available via rental services, including Youtube, Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

Starring Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña, the original “Avatar” focuses on Jake Sully (Worthington), a disabled marine from the 22nd century who journeys to the fictional moon Pandora and has his mind inserted into a genetically engineered body of the native Na’vi species. While attempting to infiltrate the Na’vi tribe and gain access to their natural resources, Jake falls in love with one of the clan members, Neytiri (Saldana), and begins questioning the government’s exploitation of their home. The film is the highest grossing movie of all time, raking in roughly $2.847 billion at the global box office, and is noted for its pioneering use of 3D formats. The sequel sees Cameron return as writer and director, while Worthington and Saldaña are joined in the cast by Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh.

Disney also released a new trailer for the “Avatar” rerelease on Tuesday. Watch below.

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