James Cameron May Film ‘Avatar 2’ & ‘Avatar 3’ Back-To-Back
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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.


  1. Excellent news, I’m glad to hear that Cameron isn’t jumping on the dollar sign wagon, but is instead wanting to make sure things get done right.

    As a side note, I feel bad for all of those authors who have been brought in to pen a novelization…
    I’ve read a few in my day, and some of them have been really good.

    Comment by Schutzenegger — August 8, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

  2. I dunno. So many films jump the shark when they are filmed back to back: Back to the Future, Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean. WTF!

    ChooseYourOwnAdventureBooks.org for Kids, Adults and Teachers

    Comment by Shawn Harris — August 8, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

  3. It really sounds like Cameron is ripping off Peter Jackson (like so many other directors the past decade.) Filming Avatar 2 and 3 back to back seems like a bad idea, reminding me very much of those deplorable Pirate films. I am not sure Cameron has a narrative complete for the second Avatar, let alone the third one. Sure, the world, creatures, weapons, and all geek-fulfilling pleasures are already set in stone, but the script is not. An original novel actually seems like the best idea at this point.

    Now, Battle Angel Alita is another story alltogether. It has a darn good script (according to those in Hollywood), a test reel, and loads of production design. Why not this???

    Comment by ken — August 8, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  4. The trend started with Zemekis, way back in the early 90’s.

    I’ll be skipping these sequels. I wasn’t much of a fan of the first one at all.

    Comment by Slipstream — August 8, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  5. […] ride begins Aug. 27 in digital 3D …Manila BulletinCinematical (blog) -MTV.com -Geeks of Doom (blog)all 44 news […]

    Pingback by Avatar for Fans — August 9, 2010 @ 2:06 am

  6. As a general rule, sequels tend to have weaker stories. In this case I’m thinking it will be downright awful. With interest in 3D falling off, except for the studios squeezing out an extra 20% in profits, I don’t think it will carry the story a second or third time.

    Comment by jakeZ — August 9, 2010 @ 10:05 am

  7. *rolls eyes*

    They just can’t leave well enough alone, can they? It’s all about riding that wave longer to make more money. This is BS. Cameron, why don’t you go create something NEW? You’ve already seen what you can do when you put your mind to it (although you really just ripped off Dances With Wolves).

    Create something new. Leave Avatar alone.

    Comment by Devon — August 9, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  8. Wow, so much backlash!

    I really don’t think filming sequels back-to-back reflects negatively on the quality. It’s not ripping off anyone, either. It’s just a filmmaking option that’s more efficient than doing them separately. So much time and effort goes into these things and there’s so many complications and scheduling conflicts that can get in the way — just makes more sense to do them both together.

    You can’t blame Fox for wanting to do more movies; it’s just a glaringly obvious business decision. And with Cameron having worked on that world for as long as he did, you know he has more story planned. Can’t blame him either for wanting to make sure it gets done his way.

    Comment by The Movie God — August 9, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

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