So far, director James Cameron has released two out of five Avatar films. There is no doubt that both have proved to be huge successes for 20th Century Studios, which is owned by The Walt Disney Studios. Cameron once revealed that Disney had some concerns regarding the massive budget of the second film. However, being a seasoned director who knew exactly what he was doing, he managed to qualm the fears.
In 2009, Cameron’s Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time and held that position for 10 years. The sequel of Avatar, Avatar: The Way of Water wasn’t any less as it also proved to be a major box office success, grossing over $2.3 billion worldwide. Disney was definitely satisfied with what Cameron created but the scenario was different when the film was initially in production.
Disney had concerns during the filming of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water
Director James Cameron began working on the sequel of 2009’s Avatar, Avatar: The Way of Water in the early 2010s. Almost a decade later, fans finally got Avatar: The Way of Water. The film didn’t disappoint. However, during the production of the film, 20th Century Studios’ parent company, The Walt Disney Studios, doubted Cameron’s methods as the film’s budget was massive. In a recent interview with GQ, Cameron explained,
“Working with Disney on The Way of Water, we got that all in miniature. There was concern, but there was never panic. And as they started to see the scenes coming together, they trusted us. And it was a great creative dialogue as well.”
In the end, Cameron created a masterpiece that went on to break several box office records and proved to be a massive financial success for Disney.
James Cameron explained why the studios were concerned
During the interview, Cameron explained that studios had concerns because all they could see was “people running around in black tights with marker dots.” For the studios, they feel like not much progress has been made so that’s where the concerns stem from.
“Well, the first Avatar, we asked the studio for millions of dollars just to do a test clip that I think was only 40 seconds long. We had to show them what the movie was going to look like and how we were going to make it because it was so hypothetical – and I’m not saying that they don’t lose faith partway through the process. When you’re two and a half, three years into the process, and all they can see on the screen is people running around in black tights with marker dots all over them, there’s a moment of existential panic – but then the shots start to come in and they start to see the movie coming together and then everybody relaxes.”
2009’s Avatar had a budget of $237 million, which was a lot for a 2009 movie but with Cameron’s magic, the film broke almost every box office record, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time. It has been confirmed that three more Avatar films are in production and the next film is set to be released in December 2025.