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The giant blue cat eco-aliens will return: James Cameron says Avatar: The Way of Water will “easily” pass the break-even point at the box office and that he will indeed make more sequels to his fantasy hit.
The director was on this week’s episode of HBO Max’s Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? and pointed out his mega-budgeted sequel has crossed $1.5 billion at the the global box office (surpassing Top Gun: Maverick to become the highest-grossing film released in 2022).
“It looks like just with the momentum that the film has now that we’ll easily pass our break-even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this — I’m gonna have to do these other sequels,” Cameron said (with presumably some feigned reluctance, given his obvious dedication and enthusiasm for his franchise). “I know what I’m going to be doing the next six or seven years. The point is we’re going to be OK. I’m sure that we’ll have a discussion soon with the top folks at Disney about the game plan going forward for Avatar 3, which is already in the can – we’ve already captured and photographed the whole film, so we’re in extended postproduction to do all that CG magic. And then Avatar 4 and 5 are both written. We even have some of 4 in the can. We’ve begun a franchise at this point. We’ve begun a saga that can now play out over multiple films.”
Previously, Cameron made headlines by seemingly speculating that The Way of Water would have to earn at least $2 billion at the box office just to break even and justify a sequel. “To clarify, I never actually gave it a number,” Cameron said. “I said it would have to be among the highest-grossing films in history and somebody else applied that number and it got picked up. The number is actually less.”
The Way of Water had an estimated production budget of more than $400 million, with a marketing spend that brought the combined price tag to at least $600 million, sources have told The Hollywood Reporter.
In another recent interview, with the French newspaper 20 Minutes, Cameron teased the franchise is making its way through the four elements, with a new Na’vi clan centered around fire to be introduced in a future film. Also, that the new clan wouldn’t be as idyllic and virtuous as the forest and water-based Na’vi tribes that were previously introduced.
“The fire will be represented by the ‘Ash People,’” Cameron said. “I want to show the Na’vi from another angle because, so far, I have only shown their good sides. In the early films, there are very negative human examples and very positive Na’vi examples. In Avatar 3, we will do the opposite. We will also explore new worlds, while continuing the story of the main characters. I can say that the last parts will be the best. The others were an introduction, a way to set the table before serving the meal.”
The director also discussed with Wallace the idea of his film Titanic as a metaphor for societal indifference to global warming. “The captain died with a pocket full of radio telegram warnings about ice ahead, but they still steamed full-tilt because they thought they could get away with it and the unthinkable wouldn’t happen — and it happened,” Cameron said. “We live in the 90 seconds between the time they saw the iceberg and when they were unable to turn.”
Avatar 3 is scheduled (assuming there are no delays) for Dec. 20, 2024.
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