James Cameron Says He 'Clashed' With Studio Before 'Avatar' Release

The "Avatar" director said aspects of his 2009 movie are "still competitive with everything that’s out there these days."
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Director James Cameron revealed that he and studio executives “clashed over certain things” about “Avatar” during the creation of the 2009 blockbuster film.

Cameron, whose epic adventure movie is the highest-grossing film of all time, told The New York Times on Friday that the creative process behind the film didn’t come without a fight.

Cameron — who did not refer to the studio by name — said studio executives thought the epic film “should be shorter” and characters were flying around too much on banshee creatures.

“Well, it turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling and data gathering,” Cameron recalled.

“And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, ‘You know what? I made “Titanic.” This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion dollar complex on your lot? “Titanic” paid for that, so I get to do this.’”

The director, who told The Times that “Avatar” is “still competitive with everything that’s out there these days,” claimed the studio later thanked him for his pushback.

“I feel that my job is to protect their investment, often against their own judgment,” Cameron said. “But as long as I protect their investment, all is forgiven.”

Cameron’s reflections on the blockbuster arrived roughly three months before the scheduled release of its sequel — “Avatar: The Way of Water” — on Dec. 16.

The sequel arrives 13 years after the original film, a wait that Cameron said once left him a “little concerned” ahead of December.

“I was a little concerned that I had stretched the tether too far, in our fast-paced, modern world ... [right] until we dropped the teaser trailer and we got 148 million views in 24 hours,” Cameron told The Times.

“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.”