James Cameron has an ambitious plan for the Avatar franchise, in part because James Cameron only has ambitious plans for everything and anything in his life. When he agreed to make more of these movies, it was never just to make one sequel, it was for an entire series of sequels. And as he planned, the number of sequels kept expanding. Last we heard, he had firm designs on making four Avatar sequels — but has already said he has ideas for at least two more films after that, movies that he probably wouldn’t even be physically capable of making himself just because of how long these things take to make and his own age. (Cameron turns 69 later this year.)
But you know what they said: Man plans, and Eywa laughs. Disney isn’t just going to keep making Avatar movies forever because Cameron wants to; these things have to make money. And since the Avatar saga is amongst the most expensive artistic endeavors ever undertaken, they have to make a lot of money to justify their existence.
Cameron has said publicly that the first sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, would need to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion to ensure profitability and the longevity of the series. The film hasn’t quite gotten to that level yet, but it’s not far off either. The film has already grossed over $1.51 billion worldwide after three weeks of release, making one of the top ten highest-grossing movies in history. And it looks like things are going well enough for Cameron to confirm that, yes, more Avatars are coming.
In an interview with Chris Wallace (via THR), Cameron confirmed The Way of Water is doing well enough that it “will easily pass our break even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this, I’m gonna have to do these other sequels.”
I’m sure that we’ll have a discussion soon with with the top folks at Disney about the game plan going forward for Avatar 3, which is already in the can – we’ve already captured and photographed the whole film so we’re in extended post-production to do all that CG magic. And then Avatar 4 and 5 are both written. We even have some of 4 in the can. We’ve begun a franchise at this point. We’ve begun a saga that can now play out over multiple films.
“I know what I’m going to be doing the next six or seven years,” Cameron also said.
So strap in, Avatar fans (presumably by attaching your braid to the flying dragon you’re riding on). You’ve got six or seven more years of Avatar movies coming.
Historical Movies That Are Wildly Inaccurate
These films are based on real people and events … but just barely. Most of what was up on screen was invented by screenwriters.