James Cameron, the director of Avatar, has been working on the sequel to the original picture for 13 years, and he wanted to make sure he understood why the first film was so successful. Ahead of the release of Avatar 2, Cameron recently discussed how it feels to release the sequel to the most successful film of all time.
Back in 2009, the original Avatar grossed roughly $3 billion, and the studio sought to capitalize on the enthusiasm by releasing a sequel as quickly as possible. Cameron was insistent about not rushing the sequel, but he confessed that waiting 13 years after the first film’s premiere did bother him.
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What made the original Avatar so successful?
Cameron stated to The Times UK, “When I sat down with my writers to start Avatar 2, I said we cannot do the next one until we understand why the first one did so well. We must crack the code of what the hell happened.”
He went on to say that Avatar mastered a type of success trifecta:
“Well, all films work on different levels. The first is surface, which is character, problem and resolution. The second is thematic. What is the movie trying to say? But Avatar also works on a third level, the subconscious.”
According to James Cameron, the sci-fi fantasy picture starring Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington captivated the world’s subconscious, which is why it was so successful. And why the film continues to perform so well. Avatar was re-released in 4K remastering in high dynamic range on Friday, September 23, allowing spectators the chance to see the film in both 2-D and 3-D cinemas for a substantially upgraded experience.
Cameron has pondered whether the gap between films was excessively long. “My personal experience goes like this: I made a sequel called Aliens, seven years after the first movie. It was very well received. I made a sequel called Terminator 2, seven years after the first movie. It did an order of magnitude of more, in revenue than the first film.” he explained.
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James Cameron speaks about Avatar 2
Cameron went on to say that he drafted a complete script for the Avatar sequel but had to scrap it all and start over.
“I was a little concerned that I had stretched the tether too far, in our fast-paced, modern world, with Avatar 2 coming in 12 years later,” Cameron said. “Right until we dropped the teaser trailer, and we got 148 million views in 24 hours. There’s that scarce seen but wondered at principle, which is, ‘Wow, we haven’t seen that in a long time, but I remember how cool it was back then.’ Does that play in our favor? I don’t know. I guess we’re going to find out.”
Avatar: The Way of Water, which cost a stunning $250 million to produce and features new special effects and underwater filmmaking technology, should be one of the year’s biggest movies. Zoe Saldana reprises her role as Neytiri, while Sam Worthington plays Jake Sully and Stephen Lang plays Colonel Miles Quaritch. The film also stars Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, CCH Pounder, Sigourney Weaver, and Kate Winslet.
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The sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is set to hit theatres on December 16, this year, with the third Avatar following in December 2024 and the fourth and fifth succeeding two years later.