James Cameron says he is willing to end his Avatar franchise early if audiences don’t ‘give a s***t’ about the films any more.
The director released the first Avatar film to critical acclaim in 2009, with the story planned to be told over a total of five films.
It became the highest-grossing film in the world for almost a decade, going on to be nominated for nine Academy Awards and winning three.
However the sequel – Avatar: The Way of Water – is to hit cinemas only next month, a whopping 13 years after the first.
A new film is planned to be released almost every year from now until 2028, however Titanic director James says this could change, depending on how well The Way of Water and the as-yet-unnamed Avatar 3 performs at the box office.
In a new interview with Total Film magazine, he said: ‘The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: “OK, let’s complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly, if it’s just not profitable.”‘
He said society is in ‘a different world’ now than when he penned the Avatar sequel scripts, thanks to the pandemic and the rise in popularity of streaming from home rather than going to the cinema.
In an optimistic note, he suggested ‘maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theatre is all about. This film definitely does that.’
However, he added: ‘The question is: how many people give a s*** now?’
The director is no stranger to stopping plans that don’t work, having recently revealed he had worked on the script for The Way of Water for over a year before eventually scrapping it and starting from scratch.
‘All films work on different levels. The first is surface, which is character, problem, and resolution,’ he said in an interview with The Times.
‘The second is thematic. What is the movie trying to say? But Avatar also works on a third level, the subconscious.
‘I wrote an entire script for the sequel, read it, and realized that it did not get to level three.
‘Boom. Start over. That took a year.’
Fans are now eagerly awaiting the sequel, set for release on December 16, over a decade after the original hit cinemas.
Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang will return as their original characters, and there are some high-profile newcomers attached to the project, including Vin Diesel and even Titanic star Kate Winslet.