James Cameron Reveals The Fate Of The Avatar Franchise

James Cameron revealed Avatar 2 made enough money that the already planned sequels will now be made.

By Phillip Moyer | Published

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James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water was, to put it mildly, an expensive movie to make. So expensive, in fact, that it needed to become one of the highest-grossing movies of all time to just break even — and if it didn’t, then the future of the franchise would be in jeopardy. Now, according to Deadline, the movie has just about reached its break-even point, and Cameron stated, “It looks like with the momentum that the film has now that we’ll easily pass our break even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this and I’m gonna have to do these other sequels.”

James Cameron already stated he was working on Avatar sequels leading into the sixth and seventh movies. He added, “I know what I’m going to be doing the next six or seven years.”

James Cameron’s original Avatar followed the marine Jake Sully as he is sent to the distant world Pandora with hopes of winning over the native giant blue aliens, known as the Na’vi, by controlling an “avatar” that looks just like them. Instead, Sully chooses to side with the Na’vi to repel the humans, who are destroying the world’s biological neural network through their mining. Avatar: The Way of Water takes place fifteen years after the first film, as humans attempt to return to Pandora to colonize the planet. 

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With the success of the second film, three more movies in the franchise will be released. James Cameron has already completed the filming for Avatar 3, which is set to be released in 2024. Cameron told Deadline that all that’s left to do with the upcoming sequel is the post-production, which allows them to create the “CG magic” that the series is so well-known for. Cameron has also filmed some scenes for Avatar 4, which is expected to release in 2026. Avatar 5 will release in another two years, in 2028.

According to James Cameron, the second film in the Avatar series has made $1.54 billion so far. This number is significantly below the $2 billion+ figure that had been making the rounds on the internet, which was because Cameron claimed the movie needed to be the “third or fourth highest-grossing” movie ever — apparently a mistake on Cameron’s part since both of those films (The Force Awakens and Titanic, respectively) made more than $2 billion. As it stands, Avatar: The Way of Water is currently the ninth-highest-grossing film of all time, beating out The AvengersFurious 7, and Top Gun: Maverick.

The top spot, famously, belongs to James Cameron’s original Avatar film. The movie had previously fallen behind Avengers: Endgame, which was released at the height of Marvel’s popularity, but a theatrical re-release brought in enough money for the 2009 film to reclaim its throne.

James Cameron’s Avatar movies weren’t his only major box office successes, of course. He directed Titanic, which made $2.2 billion, and remained the highest-grossing film of all time until Avatar came out 12 years later. His entire filmography is packed with box office hits, including the first two Terminator films, True Lies, and Aliens. The only films of his that didn’t absolutely rock the box office are his 1989 film The Abyss, which made $90 million worldwide from a $43 million budget, and his directorial debut Piranha II: The Spawning, which only cost about $150,000 to make and brought in about $390,000.