James Cameron, director of Avatar: The Way of Water, admitted that his new film is “very fucking expensive,” and said it will have to draw in huge crowds just to break even at the box office.
Per GQ, Cameron wouldn’t go into the specifics of how much his highly-anticipated Avatar sequel actually costs, but said he used to get really defensive about the price tag of his blockbusters.
“It was always the first thing anybody would mention,” Cameron told the outlet. “And now I’m like, if I can make a business case to spend a billion dollars on a movie, I will fucking do it. Do you want to know why? Because we don’t put it all on a pile and light it on fire. We give it to people.”
He added that just for the film to break even, Avatar: The Way of Water will “have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.”
Cameron went on to say he’s always stood by his film’s high pricing and recalled an executive at Fox begging him to shorten the first Avatar film before its release.
“I said something I’ve never said to anybody else in the business,” Cameron recalled to GQ. “‘I think this movie is going to make all the fucking money. And when it does, it’s going to be too late for you to love the film. The time for you to love the movie is today. So I’m not asking you to say something that you don’t feel, but just know that I will always know that no matter how complimentary you are about the movie in the future when it makes all the money.’ And that’s exactly what I said, in caps, ALL THE MONEY, not some of the money, all the fucking money.”
Cameron was then asked if he had a theory on why the original Avatar was such a global phenomenon.
“I don’t think I need a theory,” Cameron said. “I think anybody that’s seen the movie knows why; it’s a fucking gigantic adventure that’s an all-consuming emotional experience that leaves you wrung out by the end of the movie. And it was groundbreaking visually, and it still holds up today. So I don’t think I need a theory.”
Avatar: The Way of Water, which takes place 10 years after the original film, received a new trailer earlier in November ahead of its theatrical debut on Dec 16. The film stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Kate Winslet, and the screenplay was co-written by Cameron with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.