Prolific director James Cameron has revealed how he clashed with studio executives over core aspects of Avatar‘s story. Avatar, which was released in 2009, is widely considered a ground-breaking film for its brilliant utilization and adoption of 3D technology and special effects to create an applauded visual spectacle.
The film follows the story of a former marine, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who is forced to replace his twin brother on a US Armed Forces mission on the planet of Pandora. Finding a striking sense of affinity with the world and its inhabitants, he eventually falls in love with a Na’vi woman (Zoe Saldana) and finds himself invested in the survival of her planet.
Today, Avatar is known for being an Academy award-winning masterpiece. However, it is evident some bold decisions were made on Cameron’s part to ensure the film had the desired impact. The Titanic director explained that he was forced to go against the judgment of 20th Century Fox bosses in a bid to maintain what he believed the audience appreciated most about the movie. “I think I felt, at the time, that we clashed over certain things,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “For example, the studio felt that the film should be shorter and that there was too much flying around on the ikran — what the humans call the banshees. Well, it turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling and data gathering. And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, ‘You know what? I made Titanic. This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion dollar complex on your lot? Titanic paid for that, so I get to do this.’”
He added that the same executives later thanked him for his audacious decisions. Their gratitude is hardly surprising given the film went on to accumulate a record-breaking $2.8 billion box office at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing film of all time. It also won a staggering nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, a personal nod to Cameron’s efforts.
Cameron’s comments come ahead of the release of the film’s sequel, Avatar: The Way Of Water. An official synopsis for the sci-fi epic teases that Jake is now living with his new family on Pandora. However, when the planet’s peace is once again threatened, he joins forces with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet. The film will see Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh join Worthington and Saldana on-screen. In the run-up to Avatar 2, fans will be able to witness Pandora’s mystical beauty in remastered 4K HDR, in theaters, from September 23.
Avatar: The Way Of Water is slated for theatrical release on 16 December. A teaser trailer for the movie can be seen below: