James Cameron officially has the next several years of his life planned out, at least professionally. In an interview on the HBO Max program Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, Cameron revealed that Avatar: The Way of Water is about to become profitable, which means the series will continue beyond the already-filmed third movie, at least into a fourth and fifth film.
“It looks like just with the momentum that the film has now that will easily pass our break even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this, I’m gonna have to do these other sequels… Disney about the game plan going forward for Avatar 3, which is already in the can… And then Avatar 4 and 5 are both written. We even have some of 4 in the can. We’ve begun a franchise at this point. We’ve begun a saga that can now play out over multiple films.” (via The Hollywood Reporter)
You have to hand it to Cameron; he knows how to bring in an audience. The Way of Water is doing exceptionally well, and it’s doing it in the James Cameron fashion: starting modestly and simply maintaining its hold for a long time, even increasing slightly here and there. And now, there’ll be a whole series of these movies, which is fine; I didn’t like the first one and have no interest in any sequels, but Cameron has more than earned it, as have Avatar fans who clearly want more of this world. And Disney’s got to be breathing a sigh of relief; their prospects are dwindling with every new off-putting movie and unwatchable TV show they produce. Now, they’ve got a massive hit under their belt and a sustainable franchise to help make up for destroying Star Wars and slowly sinking Marvel. It probably won’t completely replace those two losses; Avatar films may make a ton of money, but they’ll be coming out once every two or three years at best. I used to lament losing a filmmaker like Cameron to endless Avatar sequels, but given his recent comments about expelling testosterone from his system and wishing he could remake The Terminator with Super Soakers or whatever, I think it’s safe to say the auteur in him is gone. But I’ve got several classics I can always go back to (especially if he finally gets True Lies and The Abyss onto Blu-Ray; seriously, man, take a week off from Pandora and make this happen), and Avatar fans have another decade of their series to enjoy. We’re all good.