For a decade, James Cameron‘s AVATAR ruled supreme as the worldwide box-office king, but the film was recently dethroned when AVENGERS: ENDGAME took the top spot just months ago. Cameron congratulated Marvel Studios at the time with an image of Iron Man surrounded by the woodsprites from AVATAR, but how did the director really feel when he heard the news?
While speaking with Deadline, James Cameron said that his first reaction to AVENGERS: ENDGAME besting AVATAR’s box-office was one of optimism.
It gives me a lot of hope. 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.
“I’m just glad it still exists because I’m all about the big screen,” Cameron continued. “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. You as an audience member engage for two hours or two and a half hours, whatever it is. And that still exists!” As far as Cameron’s four AVATAR sequels go, what are the odds that they manage to take the crown back from AVENGERS: ENDGAME? Even Cameron isn’t sure. “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,” the director said. “I’m happy to see it, as opposed to an alternate scenario where, with the rapid availability, 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.“
AVATAR 2 is slated to hit theaters on December 17, 2021, followed by AVATAR 3 on December 22, 2023, and AVATAR 4 and AVATAR 5 on December 19, 2025 and December 17, 2027 respectively. A lot of opportunies to rack up those box-office billions, but I’m still not convinced that audiences are quite that hungry for more AVATAR.