It’s All ‘Avatar’ All the Time for James Cameron

James Cameron made a bold and unexpected announcement this week. The director of the two highest-grossing movies of all time, as well as several more extremely popular and beloved films, will from this point forward devote the remainder of his career to churning out ‘Avatar’ sequels. Is this a brilliant business decision, or tacit acknowledgement of creative bankruptcy?

According to an interview he gave to The New York Times, Cameron said the following:

Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing.

This is disappointing on a number of levels, not the least of which is that I didn’t think all that highly of ‘Avatar‘ in the first place. With that said, I might be willing to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt that his sequels could improve on the first film. After all, he already copied the entire script for ‘Dances With Wolves’ and will have to come up with something different for the next one. Even so, this decision feels like it’s beneath the talents for the man who gave us ‘The Terminator’, ‘Aliens’ and ‘True Lies’. I’d prefer to see him devote his energies to creating something new, but I guess that doesn’t interest him anymore.

This would effectively mean that Cameron’s long-gestating plans to make a live-action version of the anime series ‘Battle Angel Alita’ have been scrapped. Or does it? Harry Knowles at AICN claims to have gotten in touch with Cameron, who allegedly told him, “No. I still love that project. But Battle Angel is not going to happen for a few years.” While I trust Harry Knowles about as far as I can throw him (fat joke unavoidable, sorry), the timing of Cameron’s new ‘Avatar’ announcement seems particularly strange, given that as recently as a month ago, the director refused to give up the rights to the ‘Battle Angel’ property.

What do you make of this news?

[via Entertainment Weekly]


  1. JM

    James Cameron recently said that for the last twenty years he’s only been making movies to fund his oceanography.

    The ‘Avatar’ sequels should follow the avatar technology. Each new movie should have a new protagonist, with new war tech, on a new alien world.

    Maybe for A2 he could copy the entire script of ‘Apocalypse Now.’

  2. I hope this isn’t true…Cameron is far too talented (as a director if not a writer) to only give us AVATAR films for the rest of his career. I, too, never really loved the movie – in fact I think the vast majority of moviegoers just “liked” the film. I don’t expect the second to do anywhere near what the first one did.

    • William Henley

      Agreed – most people I know who saw the movie, including myself, “Liked” the movie. Not loved, we “liked” it. I could care less if there is a sequel.

  3. The large take that Avatar had bloated his ego and expectations on sequels. That movie was far from original, a good distance from well written, and plenty separated from great (or even good, for that matter). If he wants to take other people’s ideas and then somehow make “his own statements” about what we need to do with the world, then he definitely has lost his creative edge. I’m not saying an Avatar sequel is guaranteed doom, but I certainly don’t expect any sequel to take over as box office king, and I am quite convinced that the sequels will pale in comparison to his résumé pre-Avatar.

    While I do have a few directors that I trust in every picture they put out, Cameron certainly is not one of them.

  4. Barsoom Bob

    Some how he always seems to make it work and you get a first class production no matter what genre he is playing in. I will give him the benefit of the doubt. Given the amount of time he takes to get a film “out the door”, he is being optimistic about an Avatar 4.

    BTW there is another of those Ain’t it Cool webcasts with a second sit down with Douglas Trumbull up on the site.

  5. Justin

    This is terrible news. Avatar was a decent film, but it’s arguably the worst film of Cameron’s career. I’d rather read that he is making only Titanic films for the rest of his career.

  6. Marvinmar

    Well, With the Disney World AVATAR land coming, I guess you could see this coming.

    Also, Remember when….
    “Jet Li announced that Fearless, a biopic of national pugilist hero Huo Yuanjia (Fok Yuen-gap) that’s set for release in the first part of 2006 will be his last martial arts movie. He plans to focus instead on more philosophical and family-oriented movies.”

    Things change….

  7. Dan P.

    Cameron is a technical genius. He should stick with that and let someone else do the writing. With so much great sci-fi out there, it’s a shame all he can think of is more Avatar. How about adapting some great sci-fi books to the big screen? I’d love to see Sam Delany’s “Nova”, Niven’s “Ringworld”, or Simak’s “Way Station” become a movie, just to name a few. Cameron’s special effects skills can make it happen, and he only needs someone to write a screenplay. Seems like a waste of talent if all he has planned is to make more visually spectacular rubbish.

  8. EM

    Cameron’s 57. That’s hardly ancient, but it shouldn’t be too surprising that he’s eyeing retirement (one that he certainly can afford already). These projects do take a few years apiece to complete. And he can revise his plans later, if he likes.