by: Austin Welch source: Variety
Can’t decide if i’m surprised by this revelation or not.
James Cameron, doing promo rounds for his new epic Avatar, set for release on the 18th, said before the London premiere of the film that a full trilogy based on the film is very likely. It seems that part of the deal with 20th Century Fox, who were wary of spending the amount of money required to develop Avatar, was to sell the appeal of additional, more profitable sequels.
The writer-director said, “When I pitched it to Fox, they said, ‘We spent a lot of money creating all these assets, all these CG mountains, plants, trees, leaves, flowers, bugs’ – everything you saw up there on screen had been made by people at workstations over a period of years, and so they have value.” A linguist was even hired to create a full, unique new language for the film. “So in terms of the pitch,” Cameron said, ”it was: OK, you’ve spent a lot of money on the first one; on the second we’ll be able to amortize it and focus on the story and all that…and they bought that.”
On the subject of plot, Cameron claims he has solid story ideas for the sequels, which Fox is apparently still not saying they’ll produce. While they realize this newly created universe has strong sequel potential, they are obviously waiting to see initial receipts on the thing before they green light anything. Can’t blame ‘em.
One also can’t blame Cameron for wanting to get the most out of his carefully thought-out world. We here at The Realm, for the most part, are looking forward to the film, and if you’ve listened to any of our recent podcasts, we have taken a few potshots at the man, while never denying his skills as a filmmaker. One of his strengths is his determination to move on to new things. He was never about building franchises. He was initially reluctant to do a second Terminator, he only did Aliens because he felt he had his own story to tell, and after flirting with a second True Lies, decided against it. That’s why this is surprising to a degree.
Exactly how much Avatar needs to make before Fox decides a sequel is warranted is anybody’s guess. Personally, I’m thinking if it does $80 million-plus on its opening weekend, you’ll see them pull the trigger right away. If it takes a little longer to, say, pull in $100 million, I’m sure they’ll still go forward with a sequel, but it may take a couple of months for them to say so publicly.
In related news, Cameron will produce (but apparently not direct) a remake of 1966′s Fantastic Voyage, also for Fox. Ironically, another Aliens franchise vet Shane Salerno (AVP: Requiem) is set to helm the pic, which is being put on the front burner. His Lightstorm Entertainment venture will produce several films for Fox in the coming years, all part of the deal to mitigate those pesky Avatar costs. Who says you can’t whore yourself out in Hollywood anymore?