James Cameron Is Prepared to End ‘Avatar’ Franchise After Three Films If Sequels Underperform: ‘How Many People Give a S— Now?’

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When James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” finally opens in theaters this December, it will bring the “Avatar” franchise back to the big screen after 13 years and lead into four more “Avatar” sequels. Well, not so fast. Speaking to Total Film magazine, Cameron said he’s prepared to cut his franchise short should “The Way of Water” and “Avatar 3” underperform at the box office.

“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,” Cameron said.

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“We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even,” the filmmaker continued. “It’s the one-two punch — the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theatre is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a shit now?”

Considering the recent “Avatar” re-release earned over $15 million in the U.S. and north of $40 million worldwide this fall, it appears many people are still interested in Cameron’s franchise. But should the first two “Avatar” sequels fail at the box office, Cameron is already prepared to make the third movie a fitting franchise conclusion. The director already said earlier this year that he might not direct the fourth and fifth “Avatar” movies, should they get made.

“The ‘Avatar’ films themselves are kind of all-consuming,” Cameron told Empire magazine. “I’ve got some other things I’m developing as well that are exciting. I think eventually over time — I don’t know if that’s after three or after four — I’ll want to pass the baton to a director that I trust to take over, so I can go do some other stuff that I’m also interested in. Or maybe not. I don’t know.”

Cameron added, “Movie 4 is a corker. It’s a motherfucker. I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market force. Three is in the can so it’s coming out regardless. I really hope that we get to make 4 and 5 because it’s one big story, ultimately.”

Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters on Dec. 16 from Disney.

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