SAN DIEGO, August 3, 2013 – “Avatar” director James Cameron and film studio Twentieth Century Fox announced that the two planned sequels to “Avatar” would now be three separate sequels. Screenwriters have been hired who have worked on films like “War of the Worlds” and “Planet of the Apes.” Filming on “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” and “Avatar 4” is expected to begin next year. The planned release dates are December 2016, and the next a year later, followed another year later by the final film in the series.
Was the first film so good that the public is demanding not one, not two, but three sequels?
It’s understandable why Cameron and Fox are tempted to maximize this opportunity. The first “Avatar” is the highest grossing film at the domestic and worldwide box office. It earned more than $760 million domestically and $2.7 billion worldwide.
For films loaded up with special effects that are expensive to produce, shooting and assembling all of the sequels in one fell swoop keeps the costs down. It also insures all key cast members are available and finish all their parts for every film. If you’re going to produce multiple sequels, this is the way to go.
But some sequels work, and some don’t Cameron can put his name to several that do, including “Aliens” and “Terminator 2.” The “Rocky” franchise had five sequels. But for every success, there is a dud. “Ocean’s Twelve” or “Speed 2” anyone? The investment is a huge risk if the sequels aren’t well received. The cascade effect of poor reviews or fan indifference can be a disaster.
While “Avatar” was popular, it doesn’t seem to have a lasting effect that is standing the test of time. The visual effects were the big draw, not the storyline. Watch “Avatar” now. How impressive are the effects? Other films have built upon “Avatar” and surpassed its accomplishments. The effects are still quite good but no longer something special and unique. Without the wow factor, the movie seems to drag.
Cameron’s film “Titanic,” is over 15 years old, but people still eagerly watch it. The special effects were good but not the only draw. People enjoy the story and the acting; it’s become a modern classic. The original “Star Wars” didn’t rely solely on the “wow” factor and that’s a good thing, since the technology of 1977 couldn’t carry the film alone today.
Nevertheless, the future “Avatar” films should do decent business, but nothing incredible compared to the first film and will likely be mild disappointments as a result. Wouldn’t audiences prefer the creative talents of someone like James Cameron be put to use on something new, fresh and original? Cameron is immensely talented and when he can put the ability to tell a good story together with visual eye candy, there’s no one better.
Cameron is at the point of his career where he can afford to take a risk. There’s no sure thing in filmmaking anyway. He needs to channel his thirst for adventure from his real life and put that spirit into something new and exciting.
Instead, we’re stuck with “Avatar.” What’s most likely is something in between epic success and epic disaster:
Avatar 2: Big hit, but not quite as big as the original.
Avatar 3: Does OK, makes money, not as much as Avatar 2.
Avatar 4: Enough already. Maybe not straight to DVD, but close.
Meanwhile, movie lovers wonder what might have been.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in Communities at Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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