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James Cameron Says He's Not Doing Much Besides 'Avatar' 2, 3 & 4

by
May 6, 2012
Source: NY Times

James Cameron Avatar

Well, there you go, there is definitely a lot of Avatar on the way, between movies and theme parks. While speaking with the NY Times Media Decoder blog with Edward Wong (via BleedingCool), James Cameron, master filmmaker and deep sea explorer, straight up revealed that his future line-up consists of pretty much Avatar, some documentaries, exploring the ocean/world, and that's about it - nothing more in film. Wait, what? Can it be? No more del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness or anything else? Cameron gives some rather interesting quotes in the NY Times Q&A, a few that make me concerned for his future. Discuss below!

It's been known that Cameron is of course lining up both Avatar 2 and 3 sequels as his next projects, but they're still a very long ways out. He comments on their development so far: "We've spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film... We just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity... We haven't gotten to the design stage yet. That'll be the next." Now that he's dived deeper than any one else in the world to unheard of depths of the ocean, he seems really inspired to conquer both the cinematic and deep sea worlds for the rest of his life. Cameron explains:

"I've divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I've made two movies in 16 years, and I've done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company's development arm. So I'm not interested in developing anything. I'm in the 'Avatar' business. Period. That's it. I'm making 'Avatar 2,' 'Avatar 3,' maybe 'Avatar 4,' and I'm not going to produce other people's movies for them. I'm not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the 'Avatar' landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can't say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I'm continuing. I've done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I'll hopefully do a lot more. In fact, I'm doing one right now, which is on this, the Deep Sea Challenge project that we just completed the first expedition. So that'll be a film that'll get made this year and come out first quarter of next year."

And there you go. But that seems rather bleak and straightforward, which is a bit unfortunate for the guy with everything from At the Mountains of Madness to Battle Angel and that Cirque du Soleil 3D movie in the works. Are all of these dead? (I doubt it.) Is there any hope for them, down the line? Will Cameron ever make anything else besides Avatar again? He doesn't answer those question specifically, but Bleeding Cool also got separate quotes from Cameron as early as a few weeks ago, and he still seemed confident. "[Writer Laeta Kalogridis and I are] good collaborators. She had written the Battle Angel script and we work really well together. If I go shoot Battle Angel I'll be shooting the script she wrote." But when will that ever be?

As for the Avatar sequels, we'll continue to keep an eye on them, but it still sounds like they're years away. "Most of the work that's being done right now is foundational. It's rewriting the code and building the software tools, it's not the creative work with the cast. That doesn't start until later this year," Cameron says. It sounds like they will indeed explore the oceans, re-energized by Cameron's recent dive, I'm sure. Producer Jon Landau confirms: "We will continue to follow Jake. It will be Jake and Neytiri together but there will be other characters that come in, both on the good side and the bad side. We will explore parts of the world you haven't seen before. It's fun and exciting." They're already trying to develop "a way to do performance capture underwater right now," since the sequels will feature a lot of underwater scenes. Exciting, indeed.

For more on Cameron, read the full NY Times interview, which covers a few other topics besides Avatar, mostly his involvement with Chinese producers and censorship. Always intrigued to hear what he has to say.

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  • Jericho
    AWESOME! he will be spending more time on~wait...4?..A FOURTH AVATAR!?!?!
  • Qweq2wu
    avatar was a great movie....if you are a 12 year old
    • Chris_G
      Oh yes, I'm sure 12 year olds picked up on all of the political and environmental undertones and the anologies to the story of the native americans and the takeways about how people interact with the world we live in and in new or different cultures that we may not fully understand. Standard 12 year old level material right there. But of course, I suppose if you aren't looking for the depth in the material, you won't see it.
      • http://www.milliondollarcuffs.org Triangle Dimes
         I don't think the environmental undertones were subtle.
      • Qweq2wu
         You, my sir, are too stupid
        • Isildur_of_Numenor
          Dislike.
        • Bill
          "you, my sir, are too stupid"  Who's the 12 year old? poop head..
      • Al
        Political messages does not a great film guarantee. 
        • Chris_G
          Didn't say that. But to say that movie is for 12 year old and only 12 year olds would think it's great is grossly naive. There is a reason the movie was seen more in theaters than any movie in the last 14-15 years...and it's not because it's exclusive to 12 year olds and it's not because it sucked.
          • Qweq2wu
             no, it's because it had too much hype and people are simple and stupid, also naive like you
          • Chris_G
            No, movies break opening records off of 'hype'...they don't gross $2.7 Billion off of hype, and get high repeat and new attendance weekend through word of mouth weekend after weekend through 'hype' If hype were everything that mattered, then there would be a new highest grossing film of all time every other year. It was the #1 film, at least in North America, for 7 straight weeks...movies don't do that off of hype.
          • HealthyPoison
             Stop calling people stupid. 
          • Bill
            I don't usually chime in on these things but Qweq2wu's an idiot.  Thanks for playing.. 
      • Chip_Tha_Ripper
        Oh yes, I'm sure 12 year olds picked up on all of the political and environmental undertones and the anologies to the story of the native americans and the takeways about how people interact with the world we live in and in new or different cultures that we may not fully understand. _________________ disney's pocahontas.
        • Chris_G
          They don't pick up on THOSE things in Pocahontas, they take pocahontas for what it is as the film. Just as no children recognize hamlet in The Lion King. 12 year olds don't pick up on such things.
      • beevis
        relevant (and effective) to use a movie reflecting what REAL native americans went through; and, the REAL world we live in as well as REAL cultures across the REAL earth.....this was a tech demo with a mish-mash of different movies stories and blue people running around.
      • Mars
        Oh yes, I'm sure they had a real problem understanding 'Government bad' 'Destroys enviroment' Very subtle undertones.... so much.... depth....
      • Akirakorn
        I did... when I watched Ferngully: The Last Rain Forest and Dances with Wolves. Not trying to insult anyone, just stating I really understood what I was really watching with those two movies back when I was young; and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
      • gpak
        It came out in 2009, right? I was 13 years old, saw all these intricacies you're pointing out, and still wasn't a big fan of it. I watched it once, and didn't care enough to watch it again. It was, by no means, a bad movie. It simply felt extremely... basic. It just wasn't especially interesting, nor does it, in my opinion, merit nearly as much praise as it's been getting for anything other than its very astounding visuals. 
    • Hollister David
      You'd be a good critic. If you had a triple digit IQ
      • Qweq2wu
         that's what she said?
  • http://profiles.google.com/snears Nick Sears
    I think I'd be pretty scared by the hardcore avatar/blue man groupies, but Jim holds it together in that picture hahaha
  • Chris_G
    I still hope he goes the route of not just tagging numbers on the end of the title. I remember a quote from him saying they couldn't call the sequel 'Avatar 2' because Jake wasn't an Avatar any more. I just hate sequels that just plug a '2' on the back end. Hope it goes with an original title like The Dark Knight.
  • Danceswithwolves
    Avatar sucked. Dunno why this guy is going to stick with making even more of them. He should of said. He is done making movies. Period.
    • http://www.quanahblogs.com/ Quanah
      $2.7 billion worldwide. If it makes that kind of money it could have been Harrison Ford farting into pickling jars and there'd be sequels. 
      • http://www.milliondollarcuffs.org Triangle Dimes
         I don't think there's a person here who wouldn't pay good money to see Harrison Ford farting in pickle jars.
        • http://www.quanahblogs.com/ Quanah
          I know I would. I'd pay 3D movie ticket dollars for that.
          • Chip_Tha_Ripper
            I would do 4D. With that smellovision technology.
    • GregDinskisk
       It didn't SUCK... was just okay. Possibly most over-hyped movie ever.
      • Taylor
        Over-hyped? It only made $74 million in its first weekend and numbers stayed constant due to word-of-mouth. It broke no opening records or anything like that but went on to break "all-time" records. I would say it hardly had any hype but people realized it was great so they saw it multiple times and recommended it to their friends.
  • http://www.milliondollarcuffs.org Triangle Dimes
     Well considering how old he is and how long it's going to take him to develop these other 3 movies, it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch.
  • Ryderup
    Too bad I have zero interest in more Avatar-films or the pandora universe. Would rather have him say "I'm gonne make Terminator 3,4 and 5 and maybe a True Lies sequal"
  • Mmmmmmmmmmm
    Avatar 2 + 3 are gonna be true cinematic experiences in every sense of the word. Can`t wait. Idk if a 4th film is a good idea though, I`m sure 2/3 will be enough.
  • Seriously!!!!
    Surely he could find something better to do with his time than Avatar films. Picking crap out of his toenails springs to mind. I would certainly want to watch that more than 'Dances with Blue wolves 2'.
  • Loser
    Heres hoping for Arnold to show up in the sequels somehow and we sure need a Bill game over man Paxton cameo atleast.
  • CD169
    I just saw this on TV for the first time in a while, and the movie holds up really well, even on the small screen. It's just one of those movies that you watch in awe, thinking how the hell did someone actually pull off a movie like this with motion capture and make it feel SO real. It really is a stunning achievement.  People seem to complain about the story, and while predictable, it's still told in a way never done before, and it's told very well. It's a timeless story and I for one enjoy seeing a sci-fi rendition of it. And I am all for sequels, but one or two is enough.
    • nicole2019801
      I couldn't agree more :)
  • DaveLister_JMC
    Avatar was the most spectacular looking effects film that has been put on film. Period. Credit: due, Credit: given.  Now having said that... It was the most mind-numbingly cliched script that has ever been produced. Cameron basically admits the shortcomings of the story right there in his statement...   "We've spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film... We just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity... " Uh, Jim... How about you spend a *lot* more brainpower in creativity. The world you created is extremely exciting to look at; now you need a story to match the quality of the scenery.
  • Mars
    Avatar was awful. And pretty much just a financial gamble. Spend 300 million to make the movie as shiny as possible, then 200 million on advertising to shove it down our throats, making sure it's being talked about on every news network. Then people feel like if they don't see it they're missing out on something, they're really not, just overly polished garbage.  If the future of films are all about the look and not substance, count me out. I'd take District 9 over Avatar any day. Only, what, a 30 million budget? To produce the most seamless blend of CGI and live action I've ever seen. Give me 3 sequels to District 9, money much better spent, and a hell of a lot less of it too.
    • Chris_G
      Um, no...that movie wasn't marketed nearly as much as The Dark Knight with all of it's crazy virals, 3 trailers, and TV spots starting in June, or The Avengers, with it's trailers and Superbowl ads and again, blitzing of TV spots and insane amount of marketing tie ins. It didn't have a teaser until August of 09, just 4 months before the release...it had no marketing before that. Every major blockbuster debuts a teaser nearly a year before release. Avatar didn't start until 4 months out. It wasn't insanely over marketed or anything, it wasn't insanely hped, it didn't break an opening record of any kind, not even restricted to the month of December. But it made $77 million it's first weekend, $75 million it's 2nd weekend, and $68 million it's 3rd weekend...no 'normal' movie has holdovers like that. It wasn't because everyone saw it and it sucked, that's for sure. It wasn't talked about any more than people deemed necessary once it actually came out.
      • Mars
        Hmmm... So it sounds like your basing your knowledge of the marketing side of Avatar on what YOU saw.... Maybe you missed it, but as I said, people we're spending a lot of time talking about how revolutionary this film was, on all major networks. And admittedly in many ways it was. That doesn't change the FACT that the film cost an estimated 500 million, around 230-300 million on the production, and 150 million on marketing.     I'm not sure what 4 months before has anything to do with anything, since it still was one of the most viewed trailers of all time, and I'm not sure why there weren't any super bowl ads....possibly because that's in February (10 months before the release of the film) but they did "have their 3 and half minute trailer at the Dallas football game in Arlington, Texas, on the Diamond Vision screen, one of the world's largest video displays, and to TV audiences viewing the game on Fox. Also Coca-Cola launching a specific Coke Zero can that allowed you to access parts of the Avatar website when holding it up to your webcam. And Mcdonald commericals in Europe saying to go "Avatarize yourself" on another Avatar website. Just to name a few, wow already sound expensive. Which was my main argument; the money, which speaks for itself. When you spend that much money on making "the most visually groundbreaking film of all time" You shouldn't need to spend over half the amount you did on making it, selling it, it should speak for itself. But it doesn't, because Avatar doesn't say anything, your claims of subtle "undertones and the anologies" along with any amount of depth, is laughable. Brighamsmith said it the best, "People are stupid" It's all too true, and it shows in the pulp sheep flock to, and how easily things are sold to people when they're told everyone else is seeing it.
  • happy camper
    already over it.
  • Crazy Legs
    I can respect that. He knows what he wants to do and he's doing it. I'm a fan of Avatar.  The fan in me would love to see him do another aliens, terminator, and true lies movie. I want to check out his docs, any good?
  • David Banner
    Sounds like he's busy next decade with 3 new Avatar films. Maybe longer, his movies come out way to seldom.
  • Brighamsmith
    I was very naive about Avatar, meaning, i liked it. Then i thought back, about what made it such a great movie. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was as much as an unnecessary herion overdose as Transformers. Transformers made money. Do the math? People are stupid. Smurfs made tons on money as did Hop.
  • Max Renn
    Disappointing Jimbo is leaving movies and just going into the money-making business (or "Avatar business"). Talk about lack of creativity.
  • Rodion
    The film was stunningly beautiful and the 3D is the best i've seen for a movie, yet the story was shallow and in-your-face as well as unoriginal (from a base level story point-of-view). I think James Cameron is a fantastic film-maker and a pioneer, so it is slightly depressing he will be devoting his time to shallow films with barely subtle environmental fist-banging.  
  • grimjob
    Now that the technology is established, maybe he'll actually spend time on a decent script instead of making it look pretty.
  • Horseflesh
    Avatar was ok for me but didn't quite live up to the hype. like some1 else said a mish mash of other movies and it didn't seem Native American to me but more african , even the actors were recognisable black under the makeup.
  • eRazor
    Avatar is a beautiful movie with the jaw dropping efects. It is revolutionary in that regard. Many of you is complaining about the story being shallow. Who says that a story always has to be deep and complicated. I love Avatar and there is nothing wrong to watch it just to appreciate the beautiful Pandora world and creatures in it that Cameron created for us. It is not only created from ground up but it is also functional and has a meaning in everything in it. Try to create anything like it and only if successful critisize Cameron's creation. If you want to watch a beautiful sunset do you need to have a story behind it or you just watch it because it is beautiful and you can relax while watching it. Not everything in the warld needs to be complicated. Enjoy Avatar as is. Don't overanalize it. Cannot wait for the sequels.
    • Mars
       Avatar = Sunset. I've got to say that's an argument I haven't heard yet. Wow you have really opened my eyes to what a great film Avatar is. Here I was, bored to death by the plots unsurprising anything, complete lack of dimension to the characters, and teeth grindingly awful dialogue. And the whole time i should have just put on some headphones playing calming waves of the ocean, perhaps, and just relaxed. Also I never even considered how it was "functional and has a meaning in everything in it" Great point eRazor, sure is a razor sharp analysis you got there.
      • eRazor
        Well, Mars, obviously you missed the hole point and sunset was just an example and you took it literally. I didn't mean to provide an analysis, I was simply sharing my point of view and you are trying to transform it into an argument. I respect other opinions and I expect the same from others. Everybody is different and if you like to grind teeth over a movie it is your choice. My point is that you don't have to analyze everything right to the bone to enjoy it unless this is what you do or like doing. I am fine with that too.
  • jswiss
    As much as i thought avatar was overrated, I think its cool Cameron is putting all of his energy towards it. Kinda reminds me of Lucas with the Starwars series (Lets just hope avatar doesnt get a "phantom menace" or cartoon series.) I think i might really like it if Cameron really expands the universe and creates something as big and expansive as the star wars franchise.
  • http://www.facebook.com/notseeingisbelieving Txonä Unil Stä'nìyu Rolyusì
    I just read through some of the comments on here and I must say I like what user Chris G is saying. As for the marketing, I can definitely agree that it was NOT overrated, over advertised, over hyped, or whatever you want to call it. Myself, many of my friends in the Avatar fan community (which by the way is very large and still going strong), and my girlfriend (who I met through the fan community) never heard hardly anything about Avatar whatsoever. We never saw previews, teaser trailers, articles, nothing. I think I only heard a few words from 1 friend of mine about it. As for the storyline that people say is 'shallow,' I certainly don't agree with that. I don't see movies in theaters more than *maybe* twice. Avatar, however, I saw a total of 8 times. I have never seen a movie where I felt so connected to the story and the characters, nor a movie that made me think so much about how I live my life, nor a movie that actually moved me to tears. The storyline of Avatar literally made me feel ashamed to be of the human race. It made me think about all the deforestation and crap that is happening around the world and the indigenous people and animals being forced out of their homes because of it. I often hear Avatar compared to Pochahontas...someone actually made that comparison earlier on this comment chain. Pochahontas was one of my favorite childhood movies growing up and when I watch Avatar it's the farthest thing from my mind. I also hear it compared to Ferngully. Now, I have to be honest, I didn't see Ferngully till well after I became an Avatar fan. But I have seen it and I'm well aware of the similarities to Avatar (there are also differences mind you) and to that I just want to say that a storyteller's goal isn't necessarily to create a completely new story every time; but instead to retell a story in new and exciting ways. Now I know that some people didn't find Avatar new or exciting, and I'm sorry you didn't. But for some, like myself, it's had a deep and lasting effect. I hope I've sort of explained my view here without rambling too much. If I haven't I can post a link to an essay I wrote once about why I love Avatar.
    • JC ftw!
      Irayo seiyi ma txonä! I completely agree, though i didnt think the storyline was old or dull at all. The world of pandora made it totally new. Besides, James Cameron had the idea of Avatar for years, so it may have come before the ideas of pocohontas or ferngully (though i dont know how old those films are). I for one am really happy that James is devoting so much more time to the Avatar franchise - the longer he spends on them, the better we know they will be. As to all the other people/haters - if we gave you 300 million dollars, I bet you couldnt come up with a film that was  a) as beautiful or visually stunning b) as creative or imaginative c) as original d) as hard-hitting and true e) as high-grossing!
  • Sadie Heldberg
    It would really surprise me if Cameron was looking at a major film retirement, being the man behind films such as, ‘The Abyss’, which is an extraordinary achievement. The storyline and cast not only captivate me, but also pull me into the story deep down into the dark blue, where humanity is given a serious message. Aliens, one of the best-known, and critically acclaimed sci-fi films ever made, with multiple nominations, and two Academy Awards is amazing. My friend and colleague who works with me for Dish, are both huge Cameron fans and would be broken hearted if Avatar was to be his last project. Honestly, if that were the case, our weekly movie night would be a Dish Online evening. My HDTV and comfortable couch becomes our theater, and sets the perfect stage to watch classic Cameron films, which ends a hard workweek in a perfect, elegant way.
  • FriendlyFire1993
    Well, I suppose the good side to this is that we don't have to worry about another Avatar film for another 16 years. Not that I'll see it anyway.

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