By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 18, 2013 at 3:58PM
There are exactly 2,782,275,172 reasons that Fox is going ahead with "Avatar" sequels -- yes, that is monumental worldwide box office for James Cameron's smash hit film. A technological wonder upon release, and responsible for ushering the onslaught of 3D movies to the multiplex, there is sound financial reason for the studio to press onward. And certainly, with the film moving units on home video (where it has already cycled through a couple different releases), it suggests that audiences are willing to return to Pandora. While the studio had initially set "Avatar 2" for a December 2014 release, followed in 2015 by part three, last summer it was revealed that wasn't going to happen, with 2015 said to be the earliest that any of the sequels might surface. And one reason why? Cameron is still writing the thing(s).
"It's not exactly a little, intimate drama. I'm working on 'Avatar 2' and 'Avatar 3.' I was talking the other day with Peter Jackson and said, 'You had it easy dude. You had the books when you did the second and third 'Lord of the Rings.' I have to create my own books in my head and extract a script from it. I'm deep into it and I'm living in Pandora right now," he told Play Goes Strong. "There is that start up torque where you feel it's coming to you. Then you build up momentum. That's when it gets fun. The characters talk and it's writing itself. I'm almost there right now. It's building fast."
"As for a release date, that will be determined by when I get the script out," he adds, saying he doesn't feel the pressure of living up to any expectations.
However, having recently moved to New Zealand where he plans to shoot the sequels, there is still a lot riding on the followups, and not just the fate of a potential mega franchise. Disney is planning a major theme park attraction based on the movie as well, with Cameron said to be directly involved with the Imagineers in bringing it to life. But the $2.7 billion dollar question is: what is the real excitement level for these follow-ups?
Part of the mammoth success of "Avatar" was that it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, a movie that was largely sold on it's technological leaps as much as anything else. And while reviews were mostly positive, one could argue its presence in the pop culture world hasn't quite lasted. While it serves as a shorthand for blockbuster potential, an (anecdotal, anyway) argument could be made that Pandora lunchboxes probably aren't moving as fast as "Star Wars" or "Lord Of The Rings" products, nor does there seem to be as vocal a fanbase as those films either.
But perhaps we're just too far away. Maybe once the sequels become more firmed up, the fanbase will being to firm up and make themselves heard. Or maybe "Avatar" is a phenomenon that would be foolish to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on to try to repeat. What do you think? Can "Avatar" swing back and better than ever? Or should Cameron drop it and move onto something else like his forever-developing "Battle Angel"? [via Bleeding Cool]