James Cameron said on this week’s episode of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” that “Avatar: The Way of Water” will turn the profit it needs to in order get the remainder of his franchise sequels made. The director went viral in November after telling GQ magazine “The Way of Water” was so expensive to make that it would have to “be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” just to “break even.” The sequel has already earned over $1.5 billion worldwide to surpass “Top: Gun Maverick” as the highest-grossing movie of 2022.
“It looks like with the momentum that the film has now that we’ll easily pass our break even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this and I’m gonna have to do these other sequels,” Cameron said. “I know what I’m going to be doing the next six or seven years.”
Cameron added about the film turning a profit, “The point is we’re going to be okay. I’m sure that we’ll have a discussion soon with with the top folks at Disney about the game plan going forward for ‘Avatar 3,’ which is already in the can – we’ve already captured and photographed the whole film, so we’re in extended post-production to do all that CG magic. 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.”
When Cameron said in November that “The Way of Water” would need to become “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” just to “break even,” it appeared he was referring to the $2 billion mark. The director clarified his comment to Chris Wallace, saying, “I never actually gave it a number. I said it would has to be among the highest-grossing films in history and somebody else applied that number and it got picked up. The number is actually less.”
Sources have told Variety that “Avatar: The Way of Water’s” break-even point was set at roughly $1.4 billion, a figure the movie has already crossed. Insiders told Variety this week that “The Way of Water” is going to generate a box office total of at least $1.825 billion, though $2 billion certainly remains in reach. Either way, Cameron says the film will be profitable enough to warrant the sequels.
So what can audiences expect to see as the “Avatar” franchise moves forward? Cameron previously told France’s “20 Minutes” that “Avatar 3″ will explore “different cultures from those I have already shown,” adding, “The fire will be represented by the ‘Ash People.’ I want to show the Na’vi from another angle because, so far, I have only shown their good sides.”
“In the early films, there are very negative human examples and very positive Na’vi examples,” the director continued. “In ‘Avatar 3,’ we will do the opposite.”
Producer Jon Landau told Gizmodo that once the “Avatar” franchise reaches “Avatar 5,” the story will feature some Na’vi characters coming to Earth. He said, “In [‘Avatar 5’] there is a section of the story where we go to Earth. And we go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth. Earth is not just represented by the RDA [the franchise’s evil organization known as the Resources Development Administration]. Just like you’re defined by the choices you make in life, not all humans are bad. Not all Na’vi are good. And that’s the case here on Earth. And we want to expose Neytiri to that.”
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is now playing in theaters nationwide.