James Cameron has hit out at those who question the cultural impact of Avatar, his record-breaking 2009 blockbuster.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the director insisted the influence of his sci-epic will continue to grow as the subsequent sequels are released.
“There’s skepticism in the marketplace around, ‘Oh, did it ever make any real cultural impact?’” Cameron said. “‘Can anybody even remember the characters’ names?’
“When you have extraordinary success, you come back within the next three years,” he continued. “That’s just how the industry works. You come back to the well, and you build that cultural impact over time.
“Marvel had maybe 26 movies to build out a universe, with the characters cross-pollinating. So it’s an irrelevant argument. We’ll see what happens after this film.”
The director is planning another three sequels after The Way Of Water, which is due to arrive in cinemas on December 16, with the following three set to be released in 2024, 2026 and 2028 respectively.
However, Cameron recently noted that the future of the franchise will largely depend on the financial success of The Way Of Water, with the director claiming it will need to be the third or fourth-highest grossing film of all time just to break even.
According to THR, the budget for The Way Of Water sits somewhere between $350m (£292.4m) and $400m (£334m), easily making it one of the most expensive films of all time, alongside Avengers: Endgame and Age Of Ultron.
If the film underwhelms at the box office, however, Cameron has suggested the franchise could conclude with the third movie.
“We’ll probably finish movie three regardless because it’s all shot,” he told THR. “We’d have to really crater for it not to seem like it was worth the additional investment.
“We’d have to leave a smoking hole in the ground. Now, hopefully, we get to tell the whole thing because five’s better than four, four’s better than three, and three’s better than two.”