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James Cameron Admits Avatar: The Way Of Water Is A Terrible Business Case

Imagine going to a movie studio to ask for a mind-boggling amount of money, with the only reassurance being that the chances of breaking even are slim while making a profit would require a miracle. Well, one man who could pull that magic trick off is surely James Cameron. The 68-year-old Canadian filmmaker recently explained to GQ how his budget presentation to the studio for the upcoming sequel to 2009's blockbuster hit "Avatar" was "The worst business case in movie history." Well, apparently, this didn't stop the powers-that-be to green-light the next installment to this fantasy sci-fi franchise, as "Avatar: The Way of Water" is set to hit screens this December. 

When looking back at the original film and how much profit it brought in, it's not hard to see why Cameron got the go-ahead. He is no stranger to high-budget blockbuster films, directing/producing mega-hits such as "Aliens," "The Terminator," and, of course, one of the biggest cash cows of all time, "Titanic." The success of these past films, no doubt, resulted in the studio forking over an estimated $237 million budget to create the original "Avatar." 

This original, which takes place in the year 2154, follows an ex-marine infiltrating, then later blending with an alien race, while Earth's military attempts to snag their natural resources. The film set a new standard for theatrical visual effects, as well as the amount of cash needed to create them. And for this second time around, Cameron was more than frank when he explained to the studio what their profit expectations should be.

To make a profit, the Avatar sequel will need to break records

When "Avatar: The Way of Water" hits theaters in December, fans will be given the first feature film James Cameron has directed in 13 years. While the original focused on the human insurgence into a peaceful alien race, director/producer Cameron says that this new installment (one of four planned sequels) shifts the focus more onto the family dynamic. He ponders, "What do two characters who are warriors, who take chances and have no fear, do when they have children and they still have the epic struggle?" And while the eccentric filmmaker proposed this intriguing question, the studio surely was asking another: how much is it going to cost?

When anyone questions Cameron on his ceiling-shattering budgets, all he has to do is point back to the success of his past work. Holding two out of the top three most profitable films of all time allowed him to tell 20th Century Studios how this "Avatar" sequel would go in terms of budget. With the question of how expensive the movie was going to be, Cameron simply put it, "very f***ing." In terms of the chances the film will make a profit, he broke it down by saying, "You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That's your threshold. That's your break even." Obviously, with a highly anticipated sequel only weeks away, clearly, that was enough for Cameron to get the green light. Now only time will tell if the more-than-decade wait will be worth it.