Earlier this month Fox Corp. head Rupert Murdoch said that that the conglomerate is in "very early talks" with director James Cameron about a sequel to Avatar. It was stated that Cameron "has ideas," and Fox is "pushing for one," but they "haven't come to any agreement with him or budget or timing."
At the "Directors on Directing" panel at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival -- where Cameron recieved the fest's Modern Master award -- the director addressed Murdoch's recent announcement about the Avatar sequels.
Well, there are still some deals to be made," he said with a smile. "Which will be easier now that Rupert's announced it.
We know that Avatar was pitched as a franchise series, that was intended to make more profit with its subsequent sequels. Cameron reiterated this to SciFiWire when they caught up with him at the Festival, explaining:
It was embedded in my original pitch to the studio that part of the kind of business model for this is that we create all these digital assets. We essentially create a world. It exists in hard drives when you're done with the movie. And you can re-create it very quickly. When physical sets get struck, their value plummets from a $2 million set to zero in one day. But our equivalent $2 million of development for a digital set, it's still there. So the idea was maybe we don't make so much money on the first film, but we make more on the second film.
Now the first film has broken every box-office record imaginable, to the tune of 2.2 billion dollars and counting. But Cameron has a lot of projects in the pipeline. So it wouldn't be a surprise that it may not be his next film. Murdoch even said to not hold our breaths for an early sequel to Avatar, due to the fact that Cameron usually takes his time making sure his films are pitch perfect.
Cameron however played it coy on whether he'll personally be at the helm of any Avatar sequels or overseeing the franchise as executive producer.
[It's] unknown right now. Have to look at that, and have to get a script pulled together—all that sort of thing.
As nonchalant as this may come off, he's really just being very realistic about the process. Ultimately, I have no doubt in my mind that Cameron will return to the word of Pandora, as director. But there is still plenty to work out with the script. Though he hasn't settled on his next project, he added that he certainly won't be taking another 12-year sabbatical before directing a feature again, as he did between Titanic and Avatar.
The one thing that is certain, in whatever Cameron takes on next, he will continue to push the boundaries of technological advances.
I think that we spent a lot of energy on Avatar building a technology and a system for doing 3-D, for doing performance capture, for doing CG. The next threshold for me is to do it all faster and cheaper and more efficiently. Do the same thing, hit the same kind of quality level, but just with a better process, a more robust process, because it was very experimental on this film. You make a lot of mistakes, and you learn from those mistakes, but we didn't always have time to implement [the lessons].
Cameron also touched on his Battle Angel adaptation with SciFiWire as well, saying that they're still " figuring that out," but that the second Avatar and a couple of other projects are still up in the air as well.
We know that Avatar 2 will come, with the money to be made, and the stories Cameron wants to explore, there's no doubt it will eventually be made. It was confirmed a little while back that Cameron has acquired rights to the book The Last Train to Hiroshima. But only time will tell what his next project will ultimately be.
What do you think? Do you think there's any sort of possibility Cameron won't direct AVATAR 2? What do you think his next project will be?