Some news just makes you smile, doesn’t it? When it was revealed recently that James Cameron has apparently completed production on the second and third Avatar films, and is beginning work on the fourth and fifth, all without releasing ANYTHING, I’ll admit I did chuckle.
Actually, I howled with the laughter. The absolute balls of the bloke! He must hardly be able to walk without tripping over them.
So much about this news astounds me. Once I got over the fact that non-satirical publishers still run with stories about the supposed Avatar franchise with a straight face, my head started to spin.
Who actually sanctioned this, can I ask?
It just seems like madness. I mean, okay, Mr Cameron has made some decent films in his time – Terminator and Aliens, for example, are held in high esteem in the world of science-fiction and don’t fare too badly in general film discussions either.
I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been drinking their own ink – impressive filmography or not – would think creating four film sequels without releasing any in advance is a good idea. For me, there is no logic in it. Just a hell of a lot of risk. Stupid amounts, in fact.
I also think it conveys a huge amount of likely-to-be misjudged self-confidence (or arrogance, if you prefer) from Cameron himself. I don’t know why you would even mention any of this before at least releasing the first film in the queue. Can you imagine if Avatar 2 flops now, with another three films ready and waiting behind it? The man will have an ostrich egg on his face.
After the initial shock brought on by the bizarre news subsided though, I decided to dig a little deeper into the topic. Some quick maths took place, and I worked out, based on the budget for the original Avatar back in 2009, the production costs for the four films could hit the billion-dollar mark. Who on God’s green earth can afford to take a gamble with that amount of money?
Granted, Avatar did see a turnover of over $2 billion, so it is possible that this could turn out to be a fine investment scheme. I’ll eat my keyboard if we do witness more of the same. However, only four films in history have made that kind of money. Besides Avatar, there is Titanic (which is, funnily enough, another project helmed by Cameron); Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Infinity War. Basically, any film wanting to make that kind of money needs to be viewed as an event, and with these Avatar films set to be released every few years, I think it’ll be hard for them to generate that kind of buzz.
We are also going to have to wait a very long time before we see the outcome of this experiment. At this moment in time, Avatar 2 is set to be released in 2020 (although I’m sure that’s subject to change), with Avatar 5 due in 2025 (rumoured, of course). So as I sit here writing this in 2018, we are currently facing a wait of another 7 years at least before this franchise is anywhere near being finished. Not being funny, but the world could end before then.
The whole concept has me absolutely gobsmacked. When you say it out loud, it doesn’t even sound real. So much so, in fact, that it would not surprise me if the whole thing turned out to be one massive Hollywood conspiracy. If we went right back to the start of this whole saga, back to the times before people were sick to death of the mere idea of an Avatar franchise, nobody would’ve predicted for one second that things would ever get this absurd. You actually couldn’t make it up. But it’s a crazy world we live in. I think that about sums it up.