James Cameron Might Stop Making 'Avatar' Movies If Sequel Bombs At Box Office

“The question is, how many people give a s**t now?” said the filmmaker.
Director James Cameron has announced his plans to make four "Avatar" sequels stretching until 2025.
Director James Cameron has announced his plans to make four "Avatar" sequels stretching until 2025.
Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images

Unlike a certain other disaster movie, James Cameron won’t go down with the ship ― should his “Avatar” sequels sink well below box office expectations.

With the original blockbuster ranking as the highest-grossing movie ever, the filmmaker is hoping history repeats itself when “Avatar: The Way of Water” ― the first of four planned sequels expanding the world of Pandora ― hits theaters next month.

But Cameron also has a contingency plan in place should audiences fail to turn up in droves.

“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,” the director told Total Film magazine.

“We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even,” the filmmaker continued. “It’s the one-two punch — the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theatre is all about. This film definitely does that.”

“The question is: How many people give a shit now?”

With the four planned sequels reportedly totaling a collective budget of over $1 billion, “Avatar” stands to be the most expensive and potentially risky franchise of all time. Cameron himself has previously expressed doubts as to whether he’ll even direct the subsequent installments.

“Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless,” he told Empire magazine in July. “I really hope that we get to make 4 and 5 because it’s one big story, ultimately.”

But chances are “Avatar: The Way of Water” will become another box office behemoth.

Cameron has a sterling track record with past sequels (see: “Aliens” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”) and the saw immediate success with the recent theatrical rerelease of the first film, which brought in $30 million at the global box office in its first weekend.

The key to making a good sequel is being “surprising in ways that are not off-putting,” according to the director, who told Total Film that he hopes to build on the pleasures of the first installment, but in a way that “takes you someplace that’s unexpected.”

Set more than a decade after the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” tells the “story of the Sully family, the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure,” per the synopsis.

Franchise stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña and Sigourney Weaver are all returning for the sequel, which also stars newcomers Kate Winslet, Joel David Moore, Jermaine Clement, CCH Pounder, Michelle Yeoh and Edie Falco among others.

Watch the official trailer for “Avatar: The Way of Water” below.

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