’Avatar: The Way of Water’ Looking at Massive Opening Weekend; James Cameron Hypes up Sequels
Recent headlines about box office revenue at one of its lowest points of the year this past weekend are yet another hint that a tsunami named Avatar: The Way of Water is about to flood movie theaters all over the world.
The long-in-the-making sequel has been getting praise across the board from critics’ early reactions. Reviews will come out on Tuesday, but we are probably looking at yet another massive win for co-writer and director James Cameron. Moreover, Box Office Pro‘s opening weekend projections currently set a number between $167M and $192M in North America. And perhaps most interestingly, China is getting ready to inundate Disney’s arcs with another $205 million — Hollywood, and more specifically Disney, have long been waiting for China to start contributing again to their worldwide box office numbers, as it might be the reason why movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness struggled to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide.
By the end of its opening weekend, Avatar: The Way of Water could have already surpassed the $650 million mark at the worldwide box office, which would already set it as the #8 movie of the year. What’s more, the movie has next to no competition until February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, so, with China’s backing, it could easily cross the $1.5 billion mark by the end of its run. The biggest question is whether or not it will be a contender for $2 billion — as they say, never doubt James Cameron. The filmmaker said in an interview with GQ magazine that, to become profitable, it will need to become the #3 or #4 movie of all time, which would force it to cross that figure.
Deadline points out that the final production budget for The Way of Water was around $400 million, so on its own, the movie would not need to come close to $2 billion. Cameron may be speaking about the budget that comprised both Avatar 2 and 3, as they were shot simultaneously and could add up to a total of $1 billion.
First hints of Avatar 4 and 5 revealed by James Cameron and Jon Landau
It’s all surrounded by a big cloud right now, but there is one thing that is clear: Avatar 3 is in post-production, and with the vast majority of the production money spent, Disney will see to its release. But Avatar 4 and 5 do not have a greenlight yet, and that will only happen if The Way of Water performs well enough. For now, the filmmakers are lobbying for it.
In a recent interview with Collider, Cameron explained the evolution of the notes he received from the studio for each of the scripts for the sequels, saying that Avatar 4 got zero notes:
“I can’t tell you the details, but all I can say is that when I turned in the script for 2, the studio gave me three pages of notes. And when I turned in the script for 3, they gave me a page of notes, so I was getting better. When I turned in the script for 4, the studio executive, creative executive over the films wrote me an email that said, ‘Holy fuck.’ And I said, ‘Well, where are the notes?’ And she said, ‘Those are the notes.’ Because it kind of goes nuts in a good way, right?
[With ‘Avatar 4’] you think you know what it’s about, and then, oh no, you don’t. I hope I get to make that film, is what I’m saying.”
His dream is not very far away. Due to undisclosed logistic reasons, the team has already filmed the first act of Avatar 4, producer Jon Landau revealed in October. Whether or not they shoot the rest of the script, will again depend on how much interest there is in going back to Pandora.
In another interview with io9, Landau also confirmed that Avatar 5 will be returning to Earth as part of Neytiri’s arc:
“Well, it’s funny. I wasn’t going to talk about it, but I’ve now subsequently heard that Jim has talked about it a little bit. In movie five 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 evil organization in the film; the abbreviation stands for 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.”
The third film is currently scheduled for December 2024; the fourth one is aiming at a December 2026 release; and the fifth film is looking at December 2028. However, despite the fact that the titles for the sequels seemingly leaked a few years ago (and The Way of Water was nailed), Landau says this may not be the case for the rest of the sequels:
“We have decided on titles, but I would not go by those other three titles that were out there. You know, if you roll the dice one in six times, you’ll pick the right number.”
The leaked titles for the other three sequels are, respectively: Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider, and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.
And will that be it for Pandora? Well, we shall see. During a profile interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron revealed that he has ideas in place for a sixth and seventh film, adding:
“I’d be 89 by then. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to make ‘Avatar’ movies indefinitely, the amount of energy required. I would have to train somebody how to do this because, I don’t care how smart you are as a director, you don’t know how to do this.”
Look forward to our review of Avatar: The Way of Water this week. The film will be released in theaters worldwide on Friday, December 16.
Miguel Fernández is a Spanish student that has movies as his second passion in life. His favorite movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings, but he is also a huge Star Wars fan. However, fantasy movies are not his only cup of tea, as authors like Scorsese, Fincher, Kubrick or Hitchcock have been an obsession for him since he started to understand the language of filmmaking. He is that guy who will watch a black and white movie, just because it is in black and white.