Director James Cameron admits that if Avatar: The Way of Water underperforms at the box office, the franchise could be drastically altered. The first Avatar film, released in 2009, introduced fans to the alien moon of Pandora & Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully. Sully seeks to infiltrate a village of Pandora’s native residents, the Na’vi, but quickly joins forces with them to fight the human invaders. Avatar was a box office smash and is presently the highest-grossing film to date, with four sequels in the works.

Avatar: The Way of Water, the first sequel, will be released later this year, following the journey of Jake, Ney’tiri (Zoe Saldana), and their kids. Avatar 2 trailers have previously teased the project’s stunning visuals, with Cameron spending years creating cameras and motion capture technology to bring the film’s underwater scenes to life. Avatar: The Way of Water picks up 14 years after the events of the first film, following Jake and Ney’tiri as they try to keep their family together in the face of a new threat. Avatar 3 is currently in post-production, while Avatar 4 filming is already remarkably far along, according to producer Jon Landau.

Director James Cameron discusses how the franchise plan would adjust if Avatar: The Way of Water fails at the box office in a new interview with Total Film Magazine (via /Film). Although Avatar is supposed to have four sequels in all, the director says that if the second movie underperforms, Avatar 3 might be changed into a franchise conclusion. Cameron’s complete response is below:

“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘Okay, let’s complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable … We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even. It’s the one-two punch – the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s*** now?”

Why Avatar 2 is unlikely to be a box office flop

How Avatar 2's Box Office Failure Will Affect The Franchise Plan
Avatar 2

Early box office forecasts for Avatar: The Way of Water indicate that the upcoming movie will earn $650 million in the United States, which falls slightly short of the previous movie but is still a significant figure. While the Avatar sequels remain a financial risk, the latest re-release of Avatar became incredibly popular at the box office, indicating that fan interest in the franchise remains high despite the 13 years since the initial movie. The box office forecasts also do not take into account global performance, despite the fact that the original Avatar performed well in other regions, most notably China.

Cameron’s statement confirms that, regardless of how well the impending sequel performs, franchise fans will get Avatar 3. Cameron has continually demonstrated that he should not be underestimated as a filmmaker, with hits like The Terminator, Aliens, and Titanic under his credit, implying that Avatar: The Way of Water could defy expectations and exceed box office estimates. While the evolving theatrical landscape means that Avatar: The Way of Water will almost surely fall short of the original film’s box office highs, there is still reason to believe that Cameron’s backup plan will not be required.

Source: Total Film Magazine (via /Film)