James Cameron confirms that Avatar: Under The Sea is coming

The Words That Shook The World Environmental Solutions Competition
The LA Times has an exhaustive interview with James Cameron, and it was frankly hard for me to get through it all. The guy sounds pretty far up his own ass, but he does make excellent movies that bring in record bank. I also admire his stance on social causes and the environment, which he of course very heavy-handedly represents in his work.

Two main pieces of news in this interview stood out for me – that Avatar is going to be re-released in August in Imax with a whopping six minutes more of footage – being shot now, (that’s sarcasm, I don’t always convey that well) and that there will be a sequel, to focus on the ocean on Pandora. The sequel is news to me, although the news has probably already been out. I wouldn’t consider an Avatar sequel inevitable since there was no Titanic sequel (in that case they didn’t have anywhere to go though I guess) and since Avatar cost so much to make. Will the Avatar sequel be a pale version of the original that will spawn alternate titles like “Avatar: Waterworld?” and does it matter? Whatever they do with this film people will flock to see it. It will probably make more money in the re-release than most movies make around the world and in DVD sales.

PD: Will we see an “Avatar” theatrical re-release this summer?

JC: We’re working on finishing an additional six minutes of the film — which includes a lot of Weta work — for a theatrical re-release in August. We were sold out of our Imax performances right up to the moment until they were contractually obligated to switch to “Alice in Wonderland,” so we know we left money on the table there. And the 3-D really helped “Avatar” right up until the moment that it hurt it. And it hurt it at the moment “Alice” and then “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Clash of the Titans” came in and sucked up all the 3-D screens. We went from declining 8% a week to declining 50%. Clearly, it wasn’t market forces directly; it was the availability of theaters. So we’re going to wait until there’s a time to come back in, inject the new footage into the mix and see if we can interest people in the “Avatar” experience in theaters.

It’ll be interesting because it’ll be on DVD by then, but I think “Avatar” is kind of a unique category where people are enjoying the unique theatrical experience even though they may have seen it on the small screen.

PD: Is your interest moving from cinema toward public policy?

JC: Not specifically. Look, I’m an artist. I’m just going to be a big mouth and blather my opinions around, as artists are wont to do. That’s fine. In the particular case of “Avatar,” I found there’s a call to action and a sense of duty that’s emerged from it. It wasn’t my intention going into [the film] to do that. I figured I’d be on vacation right now. I figured I’d make my big statement with the movie and let everyone else sort out what to do. Turns out there aren’t that many people figuring out what to do. The leaders have been scared off, people of conscience in our leadership in Washington have been scared off by the right and the fossil fuel lobbies. They won’t even use the term “sustainability” or “climate change” in an energy bill, which is ludicrous on its face. It completely ignores the elephant in the room that we’re all dealing with. The average American doesn’t even believe climate change is real, they think it’s all a hoax. Two years ago, 50% of Americans thought climate change was real and thought it was human caused. Now we’re down to a third. That’s the work of a very well-funded campaign to create a climate of denial in the media. You’ve got to work against that. Here’s my philosophy in life: If there’s a fire, you put it out. If there’s a flood, you fill sandbags and you build a dike. You roll up your sleeves and you get to work. I think we’re facing that kind of crisis and I’m not going to stand around and leave it to someone else to deal with it.

PD: When you embark on your next film project, do you know what the challenge will be? Something on par with filming underwater for “The Abyss” or perfecting the performance capture technology in “Avatar”?

JC: Well you’ve already defined what the challenge will be on the next “Avatar” picture, which is to do what we did before at half the price and in half the time. Again, that’s an impossible goal, we won’t accomplish that, but if we can reduce by 25% in both categories, we’ll have really accomplished something. We know our methodology works. We also know it took two years to come up with. It didn’t even become efficient until the last two months of the production. So we were four years into a project before we had this machine running smoothly. So we take a snapshot of that moment in our production and say that’s what we look like on Day 1, we’re going to do better. Now, none of that has anything to do with coming up with a great story or great characters or great new settings and so on. That all is a given. That’s not to say that it’s done yet, it’s a given that we have to do that. But for me, the technical challenge is in improving the process having proved that it works.

We created a broad canvas for the environment of film. That’s not just on Pandora, but throughout the Alpha Centauri AB system. And we expand out across that system and incorporate more into the story – not necessarily in the second film, but more toward a third film. I’ve already announced this, so I might as well say it: Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment – a different setting within Pandora. And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rain forest. I’m not saying we won’t see what we’ve already seen; we’ll see more of that as well.

[From The LA Times]

My son has a really fascinating little book called The Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs that I think we got at TJ Maxx. It’s an incredible look into the age of dinosaurs and how much different the earth was some 225-65 million years ago. I think that’s part of the appeal of Avatar – it offers an alternate, immersive look into a world not unlike our own. Life began in the sea and it sounds fitting that Cameron would focus the next film on the dinosaur-like creatures in Pandora’s oceans. Whether he’ll be able to do it with the same level of depth and characterization as the last film remains to be seen, but again when it comes to dollars it probably won’t matter.

The Words That Shook The World Environmental Solutions Competition

The Words That Shook The World Environmental Solutions Competition

The Words That Shook The World Environmental Solutions Competition

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26 Responses to “James Cameron confirms that Avatar: Under The Sea is coming”

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  1. Larissa says:

    sooo NOT looking forward to see it.

  2. Kaboom says:

    Hint to James Cameron: feed your wife!

  3. katya32 says:

    Is his wife (Suzy Amis) ill? I saw pictures of her at the Oscars and did a double-take!! Check out her arms in these pictures….cancer or anorexia? it’s sad, whatever the case as she is a beautiful woman.

  4. Melanie says:

    I would rather see a sequel to Titanic! glug, glug, glug. I just could not read that manifesto that you posted, CB. Sorry.

  5. zippersgirl says:

    Not surprising since so much of the imagery in Avatar was taken directly from undersea life. I was pointing at the screen the whole movie pointing out things that I see when snorkeling only they were 1,000 times their normal sizes. That said, I’d love a “seaquel.”

  6. JulieNewmar says:

    Hush up now James Cameron.. just go away for another decade of so. Too much of a good thing is just that — too much … IMO.

  7. Toe says:

    Please Cameron, make a better plot this time.

  8. GatsbyGal says:

    I honestly would love to see that movie.

    There was an Animal Planet documentary special thingie I saw once about humans in the future launching a couple Mars-rover-type robots onto a hypothetical planet and examining the lifeforms there. It was SO fascinating. That’s part of the reason I loved Avatar so much, and will definitely be part of the reason I’ll love the sequel. Crazy ocean life is totally my bag.

  9. meth mouth says:

    Didn’t see the first one and won’t be seeing this. I also never saw Titanic either and I’m perfectly happy with that. I don’t particularly like being preached at so why would I pay money to have some CGI crap preach at me when I won’t listen to a human doing it for free? LOL y’all can have it, a fool and their money are soon parted ya know!

  10. Polkasox says:

    He says it best right in the begining talking about closing the 3D theatres – “there was money left there on the table” gross. What a douche.

  11. Just a Poster says:


  12. Lilias says:

    he’s not a douche for expressing what every film exec thinks about. They have a bottom line. If they were selling out 3D theaters until they were forced out by other movies, then there is still money to be made. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to squeeze every dollar out of the movie-going public.

    Anyway, I’ll go see this because I loved the experience of going to see the first one, sitting there and just letting myself get taken away into another world. I’ll go see this next one for that reason as well.

  13. Miranda Ann says:

    He says it best right in the begining talking about closing the 3D theatres – “there was money left there on the table” gross. What a douche.

    Why is he a “douche”? He’s right. “Avatar” could have made millions more if the 3D places could have kept the movie there. They had to take “Alice” and dump “Avatar.” I don’t blame Cameron for wanting more of that money. It will give him more money to make more movies that make him happy. Nothing wrong with that.

    I saw “Avatar” in 2D because 3D makes me dizzy. I totally enjoyed it and can’t wait for the DVD to come out. I already have it on my Netflix list.

  14. simplicity says:

    I’m pleased he’s earning money for the studios. It may mean prestige films will survive.

    Certainly enjoyed the satire comparing Avatar to Pochantas and Dancing with Wolves.

  15. Emily says:

    I’m expecting there to be mermaids in this. If the original’s basically just Pocahontas (I read that too, simplicity! Was hilarious), then surely the underwater sequel should be copied from The Little Mermaid, right? And then the third one can have a genie and a magic carpet…

    Just because you use 3D technology doesn’t make your stories original, Mr Cameron.

  16. Dhavy says:

    He wants to make a sequel so that he can win an Oscar for it this time

    Lets hope Linda Hamilton doesn’t decide to make a movie

  17. Polkasox says:

    @Miranda & lilias – yes, movie execs should be worried about making money (ie, getting back what they put into it) & yes, that’s what business is about. Avatar made plenty of money, it’s not that he was worried about recouping the money.

    He’s a douche because his focus is clearly on the profit. He didn’t say “oh, people still want to see it in 3D, we were selling out, & people wanted to keep coming” it was about making MORE money. Movies are about losing yourself in a story, not making lots of money for the director. Atleast it should be.

  18. yae says:

    Avatar was breathtaking.

    My gifted son wept at the beauty and the message. I had to dry his eyes with my popcorn stained napkin and hold him.

    That moment where they connected with the Tree of Life was so beautiful to him.

    People who looked deeper into that film understood. I was grateful for that art and my son’s connection to the symbolic meaning.

  19. dizzybenny says:

    ok,so Avatar was ”dances with wolfes”in space.
    That means for the next one it will be Finding Nemo,under water….in space!

  20. Dawn says:

    James Cameron: Just make “Battle Angel”.

  21. Kim Polidori says:

    I love the Avatar 3D film, especially the story line, not solely it brings a totally new feelings but inspiring ideas of humanity. I heard the New Avatar 2 is comming soon, can’t wait to see it again…!

  22. rkintn says:

    *yawn* I think I’ll wait for the sequel to come out at Redbox.

  23. jover says:

    Agree with mouth I don’t like being preached to and I’m liberal; wonder how much of the proceeds went to help our vets given the anti-war nature of the film. Love the comment about the sequel being Finding Nemo. Blue Navii can also swim – what miraculous powers they have.

  24. aury says:

    i’m sorry, but could he have picked a dumber title for the sequel? don’t get me wrong, i’m definitely looking forward to seeing the sequel, but come on. i can come up w/ a better title in my sleep.

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