If there’s one thing James Cameron knows how to do better than anyone else besides push the technological boundaries of cinema to new and ever more impressive heights, it’s direct the highest-grossing movie of all-time. He’s done it twice already, but it sounds as though Avatar: The Way of Water will need to come close just to end up in the black.
In an interview with GQ, Cameron was asked how much money it had cost to produce the long-awaited sequel, and in typically bullish fashion he responded by admitting his return to Pandora was “very f*cking expensive to make.” Reports emerged that the combined budget for his planned sequels was at least a billion dollars, but it may have been even more than that.
As well as describing The Way of Water as “the worst business case in movie history,” he revealed that $2 billion is probably the benchmark Avatar 2 has to be aiming for in order not to end up at a loss.
“You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.”
The current fifth top-earning release of all-time is Avengers: Infinity War, which topped out at $2.048 billion, and only a quintet films have ever managed to reach such astronomical numbers. On the plus side, Cameron is responsible for two of them, so he’s in a better position than anyone else go make it three-for-three.
The jury remains out, though, so we’ll be very curious to see what happens when Avatar: The Way of Water finally arrives in just a few weeks.