20th Century Studios

With the fourth and fifth “Avatar” films now likely a go due to the ongoing success of the second film at the box-office, filmmaker James Cameron is going to be quite occupied for the remainder of this decade.

That said, it doesn’t rule him out of producing projects alongside his commitments to direct those “Avatar” sequels. One such project could well be an “Alita: Battle Angel” follow-up, as Cameron’s producing partner Jon Landau previously hinted that they are keen to revisit that universe.

The dystopian future-set “Alita” follows an amnesiac cyborg who rediscovers her past life as a battle droid. The film was well-received critically and performed well at the box-office, but its sizable budget meant it wasn’t the profit-generating hit 20th Century Fox had hoped for at the time.

Appearing on the latest episode of Kim Master’s The Business podcast (via KCRW) Cameron spoke about cinema in general and rise of streaming services in recent years. He says, despite his own criticisms about the format, he wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to make something for a streamer: “I’d love to be on it. I think streaming is an opportunity to do long form.”

He then goes on to reference “Alita” as such a candidate because it would allow him to expand the world of that film whilst also not eschewing character development due to time constraints:

“I certainly have no dearth of ideas, and I like working with other filmmakers, like I did with Robert Rodriguez on ‘Alita: Battle Angel’. It didn’t quite make enough money to make everybody grinning from ear to ear, but we may revisit that IP, we hope to anyway.

I’ve always written more than we can conceivably pack into the box of a conventional movie, and I don’t like all that interesting character development and interesting scenes getting chopped out, either at the scripting stage or in the post-stage.”

That frustration previously resulted in ‘Special Edition’ versions of some of his works, most notably a far superior cut of “The Abyss” and extended versions of “Aliens” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”.

Cameron also discussed the downside of streaming and how that bubble, quickly inflated by the pandemic which kept everyone housebound for an extended period, has ‘burst’ in recent months:

“I feel like everyone got caught up [streaming] it when the pandemic hurt – it just didn’t hurt; it killed [cinemagoing]. We’re resurrecting it out of the grave now, [but] it killed [theaters] dead for almost a year.

Everybody had a great story for Wall Street about how they were going to create all this content, and from what I’ve seen from afar because I wasn’t directly in the game, it seemed like everyone was throwing stupid money at it to generate content and to try and create a new or constantly refreshing flow.

But it seems to me now the average viewer has to have eight or ten different subscriptions to see everything. So, it seems unsustainable on its face like a big Ponzi scheme, to me. I think there’s going to be some consolidation.”

Whatever the case, Cameron’s “Avatar: The Weight Of Water” along with the Tom Cruise-led “Top Gun: Maverick” both essentially helped ‘save’ cinemagoing in 2022, keeping it going through to this year which is expected to continue the rise before finally seeing a return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024.


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