James Cameron Says He’ll Give up on ‘Avatar’ Franchise If Sequels Flop


  • James Cameron said he might end the franchise with the third film.
  • The director isn’t sure whether audiences are still interested enough in Pandora.
  • Cameron is planning five “Avatar” movies in total.

It’s been well over a decade since James Cameron transported audiences to the lush world of Pandora in 2009’s “Avatar,” and the visionary director has finally returned with its sequel, “The Way of Water.”

The original film is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and has made $2.922 billion thanks to a number of re-releases over the years. But even though it made a huge splash at the time, there’s been plenty of discussion about whether or not there’s genuine demand for more chapters in the franchise. Especially since it’s been so long since the first film. 

However, the momentous success of “Top Gun: Maverick,” which raked in $1.486 billion, shows that if a long-gestating sequel has a solid concept then audiences will show up. 

The director is well aware of the concerns surrounding “The Way of Water,” and he’s prepared to cut the franchise short if it flops at the box office. It’s worth pointing out that “Avatar 3” is already scheduled for release in December 2024, while the fourth and fifth movies are already in development.

Cameron voiced his concerns in an interview with Total Film, saying the franchise might come to a close with the third film if “The Way of Water” is only mildly successful.

He said: “The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘OK, let’s complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable.”

The director also pointed out that the pandemic has changed the theatrical landscape now that many studios have pivoted to streaming releases, with the gap between theatrical releases and home releases much smaller.

Cameron explained: “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.” 

Cameron is confident that “The Way of Water” is “three hours of a pretty much insane experience,” but he’s also not oblivious to the franchise’s many naysayers.

He said: “The question is: how many people give a shit now?” Only time, and the box office, will tell.

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