Avatar director James Cameron has said that he could be prepared to end the franchise ahead of schedule, if ticket sales for its forthcoming sequel are poor.
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 now says that the story could finish after the third – which has already completed filming, along with “parts” of the fourth (per Entertainment Weekly) – if there doesn’t appear to be sufficient consumer appetite.
“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,” the filmmaker told Total Film.
“We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even,” he added. “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?”
Alongside Worthington and Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephan Lang also return for The Way Of Water. New cast members include Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Brendan Cowell, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel and CJ Jones.
Earlier this year, Cameron defended the length of the film, saying he didn’t want to see people complaining about the upcoming sequel’s length when many are quite willing to binge-watch several hours of TV in one sitting.
Speaking to Empire, the director said: “I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” he said. “I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonisingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a fucking break.
“I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row. Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: It’s OK to get up and go pee.”