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James Cameron Admits ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Needs To Become “The Third or Fourth Highest-Grossing Film In History” Just To “Break Even”

James Cameron has admitted that his upcoming 'Avatar: The Way of Water' must make a staggering amount of money to "break even".

In a self-admitted case of Hollywood budgeting run amok, Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron has revealed that in order for the sequel to be considered even remotely profitable, it has to end its theatrical run as “the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history”.

Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) uses her queue to perform tsaheylu with a Pandoran sea creature in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) uses her queue to perform tsaheylu with a Pandoran sea creature in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

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The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day director provided this insight into his return to trip to Pandora’s necessary financial milestones during a recent profile interview given to GQ.

Asked by the outlet’s senior staff writer Zach Baron if he could give any details as to just how much money was spent on his nine-year journey to bring The Way of Water to realization, Cameron simply asserted that the film was “very f–king” expensive.

Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) greets Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) greets Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

Recalling how he had admitted to Disney higher-ups that the film was “the worst business case in movie history,” the director then proceeded to inform Baron that The Way of Water would “have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history” in order to turn a profit.

“That’s your threshold,” he added. “That’s your break even.”

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) gives advice to his daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) gives advice to his daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

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Yet, despite this daunting goal, Cameron found himself unwilling to compromise on his artistic visions, no matter the cost.

“I used to be really defensive about [the fact that films like Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic were some of the most expensive to produce] because it was always the first thing anybody would mention,” he explained. “And now I’m like, if I can make a business case to spend a billion dollars on a movie, I will f–king do it.”

A pregnant Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) takes aim in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
A pregnant Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) takes aim in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

“Do you want to know why?” Cameron then asked Baron. “Because we don’t put it all on a pile and light it on fire. We give it to people.” 

“If the studio agrees and thinks it’s a good investment, as opposed to buying an oil lease off of the north of Scotland, which somebody would think was a good investment, why not do it?” he argued.

Ronal (Kate Winslet) and the reef people greet their land-based counterparts in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
Ronal (Kate Winslet) and the reef people greet their land-based counterparts in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

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According to Box Office Mojo, as of this article’s writing, Avatar: The Way of Water needs to secure at least $2.7 billion dollars at the worldwide box office – and in the process de-rank Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – in order to “break even”.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) reaches out for a Pandoran whale in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) reaches out for a Pandoran whale in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

And while this feat may seem daunting, The Way of Water may have a fair chance at pulling it off thanks to the announcement that China will in fact be allowing the Na’vi to once again cross their borders.

After all, it was thanks in large part to audiences within the Red Dragon that the first Avatar film was able to take home its record setting $2.9 billion worldwide box office pull.

Ronal (Kate Winslet) leads the reef people into battle against the RDA in 'Avatar: The Water of Water' (2022), Disney via YouTube
Ronal (Kate Winslet) leads the Metkayina into battle against the RDA in Avatar: The Water of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

Avatar: The Way of Water is currently set to release in theaters on December 16th, 2022.

As confirmed to Baron by Cameron, a third entry in the franchise has already been filmed, and a fourth is currently shooting.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) look on at the aftermath of an RDA attack in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) look on at the aftermath of an RDA attack in Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Disney via YouTube

NEXT: James Cameron Blasts Marvel And DC’s Refusal To Let Their Cinematic Characters Grow-Up: “No Matter How Old They Are, They All Act Like They’re In College”

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