Many people have questioned some of the decisions that 20th Century Fox has made over the years, but when it came to Avatar, figuring out whether to make sequels or not was about as simple a choice as they come.
The movie did cost around $250 million to make — an astounding price tag leading some to fear certain failure — but when it stormed box offices en route to record $749 million domestic and $1.9 billion foreign totals to equal an unheard of total of almost $3 billion, the sequels went ahead and gave themselves the greenlight.
The only trouble with the next chapters in director James Cameron epic blockbuster saga is just how long it took to make the first movie. Cameron worked on the idea for nearly two decades before the technology even existed to begin the multi-year production. Clearly the sequels won’t take quite so long with all technologies and production foundations well in-place, but they won’t come easy, either.
This makes one strategy seem like the optimum approach: filming the two movies back-to-back. And it sounds like this might just be the plan once things actually get moving.
See, at the moment, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 aren’t even official. Fox is all about making them, but no deals are in place with Cameron and others to solidify the projects. Cameron is currently working on the novelization of his film’s world and characters, and in a brief chat with MTV, he shared where things are going.
When talking about the sequel and novel, Cameron had this to say:
Avatar 2… we’re still working on deals. We don’t start the movie until we get the deals worked out. I’m making notes. I’m not sitting idle, but really, what I’m working on primarily is the novel.
I never had a chance to get the novel done while we were making the movie, and I always intended to. I didn’t want to do a cheesy novelization, where some hack comes in and kind of makes shit up. I wanted to do something that was a legitimate novel that was inside the characters’ heads and didn’t have the wrong culture stuff, the wrong language stuff, all that.
And when touching on the possibility of filming to the two sequels together, Cameron said:
We’re actually talking about that. That’s not a decision yet. That is something that makes a lot of sense, given the nature of these productions, because we can bank all the [motion] capture and then go back and do cameras over a period of time.
Considering that Cameron pulled in $350 million personally for his work on Avatar, he could just tell Fox to screw and work on the many other projects he has planned, including helping Guillermo del Toro to bring us the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness. Fortunately for Fox, Cameron is obviously passionate about what he’s created here, and wants to see it through to the end. It would take a decade before we saw two separately filmed Avatar sequels reach completion, so if you ask me, doing them together for release in the next 3-5 years is not only an option, but an undeniable requirement.