Sam Worthington Apparently Signed for Two Avatar Sequels
However, this is nothing short of customary when dealing with a film on a scale like Avatar where there's even the slightest possibility for a franchise. Sam Worthington himself told Total Film (via MarketSaw): "You work 18-hour days. I was on it for 14 months. Jim's still editing. We'll still be filming it up to the day it's released -- probably after the movie comes out, knowing Jim! That commitment is what makes him the man he is. It's life or death. It's war. That's how he approaches movies… We're signed for a trilogy. But I think I'll be 94 by the time it finishes, to be honest. I know Jim's got some ideas in his big head." Of course!
Big ideas indeed. But if we've learned anything in Hollywood it's that you don't have a movie until it's sitting in the can. Even if Worthington and whoever else is signed on for two more, let's recall the debacle that circled around the difficulty bringing not only director Jon Favreau back for Iron Man 2, but Robert Downey, Jr. as well. Favreau pointed out the problem with actor's contracts when a film makes money:
"[The cast of 'Iron Man'] all signed for three but it doesn't work that way. That all goes out the window when you make $100 million dollars. Because people want to have a good relationship with the people they are working with, and if they're making that kind of money, it's an understanding that they're going to negotiate."
And of course, with Avatar making a huge marketing blitz and garnering all sorts of buzz, good and bad, either the contracts will be re-negotiated after its success, or they will simply be thrown out the window if the film flops. With a potential franchise, actors sign for the following films in their initial contracts, but its the success, or lack thereof, that determines if they come to fruition. I remember back in 1998 when the cast members of Lost in Space said they were signed on for a trilogy, but obviously that didn't work out well. So now we play the waiting game until Avatar comes out in December and an official announcement is made.