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Avatar 3 Is A Virtual Lock Regardless Of Way Of Water's Box Office

James Cameron has always been a very confident man. Whether he's declaring himself "king of the world," announcing a personal duty to save humankind, or claiming he filmed "Titanic" just to fund his diving addiction, the filmmaker has enough hubris to keep all of Hollywood afloat. With that in mind, it doesn't even seem grandiloquent that he's predicting his upcoming "Avatar 2" will get a sequel, whether or not it's any good.

"Avatar: The Way of Water," due out December 16, will revisit the original 2009 film's protagonist, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), as he raises a family with Princess Neytiri of the Na'vi (Zoe Saldaña). It's Cameron's first outing as a director in 13 years and a follow-up to a movie that recently became the highest-grossing film of all time. ("Avatar" stole the title back from "Avengers: Endgame" in March 2021.) "Avatar" was also a hit among critics and raked in nine Oscar nominations shortly after it premiered in theaters.

However, "The Way of Water" — which has already cost 20th Century Studios and Disney over $350 million to make — is launching a spate of at least three more "Avatar" films that will bring the studio's expenses to $1 billion. And Cameron doesn't seem worried about any potential financial risk.

✎ Editi

Avatar 3 is filmed and ready to go

Though James Cameron allowed 13 years to pass between "Avatar" and "Avatar: The Way of Water," he won't let the same thing happen to "Avatar 3." In fact, the "Aliens" and "Titanic" director has already filmed "Avatar 3" and even part of "Avatar 4." There's also a script waiting in the wings for "Avatar 5." 

"It's all written out, stem to stern, four scripts, and fully designed," Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter. "We know exactly where we're going, if we get the opportunity to do it. And that opportunity will simply be market-driven, if people want it, if they like this movie enough."

If all goes according to plan, "Avatar 3" will come out in 2024, followed by part 4 in 2026 and part 5 in 2028. Disney, of course, will wait to see if "The Way of Water" takes off at the box office before greenlighting any more sequels; nevertheless, Cameron is confident that "Avatar 3" will happen.

"We'll probably finish movie three regardless because it's all shot," he said. "We'd have to really crater for it not to seem like it was worth the additional investment. We'd have to leave a smoking hole in the ground."

In classic Cameron fashion, he also found time to throw subtle shade at the "Lord of the Rings" films for not being as original as "Avatar." "They had the books," he said. "I had to write the book first, which isn't a book, it's a script."