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Apparently James Cameron feels that not only can he catch lightning in a bottle twice, but possibly up to four times. Get ready for Avatar 2, Avatar 3 and Avatar 4.
Speculation of an Avatar 2 began while the first film was still in the theaters, and it wasn’t a big surprise that people would discuss it as the film went on to be the highest grossing in history racking up over $2.7 billion dollars. Despite numerous production delays and a budget that ballooned to a rumored $237 million, folks are eager to make more films with the big cat people.
Of course the question is if the audiences will care.
It appears that Cameron and Fox believe people will as they jointly announced today that Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Shane Salerno (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) have all been signed to assist Cameron with writing three sequels. The plan calls for all three to shoot simultaneously and then be released in Dec. of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
So, here is the problem as I see it. With the exception of the Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver team, he has brought in schlock writers who turn out cookie cutter scripts. While I say this is a problem, if you look at the first film, audiences gave $2.7 billion to a film that was Dances With Wolves remade with cat people and a brilliant concept such as “Unobtainium.” People weren’t there for the story, folks.
And that leads to problem number two: Where can these films go visually? Lets be honest, 3D was a concept most people weren’t familiar with at the time, but now you can’t swish a Na’vi tail without hitting a 3D film. Cameron is saying he has some tricks up his sleeve for new effects, but unless it involves a 4D aspect where arrows come shooting out of the screen into the theater, I think he’s pretty much hit the limits of the visual medium.
There is, to be blunt, no way these films will bring in as much as the original. We’ve seen this dog and pony show, we need something new, and good grief do we need a better story. The writers that have been brought on pretty much prove the story is taking a back seat to the eye candy, and that is never a good sign for anyone.
And by committing to three in one shot, both Cameron and Fox have an opportunity to walk away with a lot of egg on their face.