Few sequels come with more question marks — or higher stakes — than “Avatar: The Way of Water.” James Cameron’s sequel comes 13 years after the original “Avatar” became the highest movie of all time (a record that has since been broken), and many have wondered if anyone still cares about what happens on the planet Pandora.
To make his sequel, which is primarily set in the oceans of Pandora, Cameron had to spend years developing new technology that would allow him to film motion capture sequences under water. The high costs of doing that inflated the film’s budget to the point where Cameron expects it will have to be one of the top five highest grossing movies of all time just to break even.
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But Cameron isn’t concerned about the film’s ability to find an audience. In a recent interview, he cited the success of “Aliens” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” as proof that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to sequels.
Cameron said that the initial reaction to the trailer, which featured some dazzling underwater footage, continued to calm his nerves about audiences’ interest in the sequel.
“I think I could have made a sequel two years later and have it bomb because people didn’t relate to the characters or the direction of the film,” Cameron said. “My personal experience goes like this: I made a sequel called ‘Aliens,’ seven years after the first movie. It was very well received. I made a sequel called ‘Terminator 2,’ seven years after the first movie. It did an order of magnitude of more, in revenue, than the first film.”
“I was a little concerned that I had stretched the tether too far, in our fast-paced, modern world, with ‘Avatar 2’ coming in 12 years later,” he said. “Right until we dropped the teaser trailer, and we got 148 million views in 24 hours. There’s that scarce seen but wondered at principle, which is, ‘Wow, we haven’t seen that in a long time, but I remember how cool it was back then.’ Does that play in our favor? I don’t know. I guess we’re going to find out.”
“Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters on Friday, December 16. Keep reading for a roundup of early social media reactions from people who have seen the film.
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