If there’s one word most associated with director James Cameron, it’s humility. As in, he’d like to humiliate his competition. Because hubris is Cameron’s drink of choice. Ten years ago, Cameron’s Avatar hit theaters, going on to become the highest grossing movie of all time, raking in $2.78 billion globally and besting his own Titanic. That is, until this year, when Avengers: Endgame topped it with a $2.79 billion mark. But, as reported by USA Today, Cameron doesn’t believe this fight is over.
With four Avatar sequels on the way—the first one set for December 17, 2021, Cameron wants to re-release the original. And when that happens, he claims, his film will overtake Endgame, assuming its rightful place again as the most profitable the cinema has ever seen. And Cameron says this is a fair fight. After all, Marvel re-released their film in July of this year, giving it opportunity to hit No. 1.
When would a re-release of Avatar be? Well, Cameron is still working with Disney—who owns the franchise—on that. But when it happens, he calls beating Endgame a “certainty.” Despite that, he’s sincerely happy for Endgame’s moment. With all the options on how to watch a movie, Cameron is just glad that people are still showing up to the theater. And on that, he’s right. The big screen is how movies were meant to be experienced. This, he says, gives him heart to move forward on the sequels. The first of which is to be set on an underwater Pandora world, which Cameron claims has been ten times more difficult to achieve than what they did in the first film. “We set the bar higher and higher,” he says. “I don’t do it because it’s hard. We’re doing it because things that haven’t been done before are the most fresh.”
And his innovation is much appreciated. No matter what you feel about Cameron the man, Cameron the filmmaker is among the best the industry has ever seen. Personally, I’ve not re-visited Avatar since the theater (and I’ve forgotten much of it), but I recall the experience was a breathtaking one. The experience, not the story. Which is where pride takes hold of Cameron again. Here’s what he has to say about why people turned out in droves to see his film then:
“Avatar is about finding our home, finding our family, finding our clan. And fighting to protect that which we found and earn our place in it. That turns out to be a more important part of it than people realize. That’s why it spoke to every culture in the world and shot to No. 1 in every market. It was dealing with a universal truth of the human condition that transcended culture.”
No, that’s not it. It was the visuals. And whatever money the sequels make will largely be thanks to the visuals as well, which isn’t a bad thing.
Parts three, four, and five are due for 2023, 2025, and 2027, respectively.