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Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of Avatar, James Cameron's CGI blockbuster that held the record for the highest grossing film of all time until Avengers: End Game took the title during July of 2019.
However, the culture at large is now not entirely sure what it was that propelled us to see Avatar en masse (it was still early into the Obama administration, perhaps we thought anything was possible, even successful original intellectual property at the box office). But, Cameron doesn't seem worried: he suspects that we'll go equally as wild about his upcoming sequels to the film. Which, yes, are still definitely happening.
Cameron still nitpicks whether or not End Game truly bested Avatar at the box office.
"I don’t want to sound snarky after I took the high road (by offering congratulations)," he told USA Today in a new interview. "But they beat us by one quarter of a percent. I did the math in my head while driving in this morning. I think accountants call that a rounding error."
Indeed, only about $7.8 million separates the two films' final grosses (End Game made $2.798 billion while Avatar made $2.789).
Furthermore, according to Box Office Mojo's estimates, once one takes inflation into account, Avatar actually sold more tickets (though, by those standards, both films would be bested by classics like Ben-Hur and the all-time champ Gone With The Wind).
Cameron is determined to take his all-time record back. He's going to re-release the original Avatar ahead of the sequels, and figures that will, at the very least, make up that pesky $7.8 million difference.
"I think it’s a certainty," Cameron says in the interview. "But let’s give Endgame their moment and let’s celebrate that people are going to the movie theater."
Yes, hello, let's celebrate that.
Cameron maintains that he's not just re-releasing the film for the sake of taking back the crown, but rather to build up hype for the sequels. The first is still scheduled for release in December, 2021, and three more are expected in 2023, 2025, and 2027.
Mind you, Avatar 2 was originally scheduled to premiere in 2014, but Cameron insists the franchise is still on track. Filming of Avatar 2 actually wrapped back in 2018, and production of Avatar 4 is already underway.
In addition to returning stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, actors as varied as Edie Falco, Vin Diesel, Kate Winslet, Michelle Yeoh, and Oona Chaplin are expected to pop up at various points throughout the four new films. Sigourney Weaver is also expected to return to the series, albeit playing an entirely new character.
Cameron, however, makes no bets on whether or not Avatar 2 and the following sequels will someday end up earning even more than the original, but after more than a decade's wait, we should find out in 2021.