It looks like James Cameron is A-OK with not being king of the world when it comes to box office wins. The director recently offered up his thoughts on Avengers: Endgame beating out his 2009 movie, Avatar, to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. Avatar ended its theatrical run with $2,789.6 million earned worldwide and $760.5 million of that earned domestically. Upon its May 2019 release, Endgame has slowly inched past Avatar, pulling in $2.796.2 million worldwide and $858.3 million earned domestically.
In the wake of the milestone event, Cameron spoke with Deadline about it. His initial thoughts? “It gives me a lot of hope.” The director went on to say:
“Avengers: Endgame is demonstrable proof that people will still go to movie theaters. The thing that scared me most about making Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 was that the market might have shifted so much that it simply was no longer possible to get people that excited about going and sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers to watch something.”
Cameron’s positive spin continued, as he opened up about whether he sees any of his upcoming Avatar sequels (Avatar 2 is the first to arrive in December 2021) possibly dethroning Endgame. You have to hand it to Cameron: the pragmatic nature of his outlook is admirable. As he told Deadline:
“Will Avatar 2 and 3 be able to create that kind of success in the zeitgeist? Who knows. We’re trying. Maybe we do, maybe we don’t, but the point is, it’s still possible. I’m happy to see it, as opposed to an alternate scenario where, with the rapid availability, a custom-designed experience that everybody can create for themselves with streaming services and all the different platforms, that [theatrical potential] might not have existed anymore.”
Cameron’s positive outlook on the event seems to echo his comments to Marvel Studios and Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo. In July, Cameron tweeted congratulations, including a graphic of Iron Man being covered in the magical woodsprites from the Tree of Souls in Avatar.
Since’s Cameron’s been quite precious with previews of the coming Avatar sequels (there will be four more, including Avatar 2), it’s tough to tell whether they could possibly knock Endgame out of the top spot. But Cameron doesn’t seem too fussed. As he told Deadline, “I’m just glad it still exists because I’m all about the big screen. Not that I wouldn’t do something for streaming where you can get into the characters in a different way but what I love the most to do is to create that completely kind of subsuming experience where you turn off your phone and you engage.”