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What The Success Of Avatar: The Way Of Water Is Really About According To James Cameron

"Avatar: The Way Of Water" has definitely managed to carve out a foothold for itself at the worldwide box office. It has become one of the top ten highest-grossing films of all time (via Box Office Mojo) and it's officially made back its cost, which means a whole raft of sequels is set to hit theaters over the following decade. While the next three "Avatar" sequels are reportedly in various stages of completion at press time, at least fans of the franchise are now officially going to get to see how James Cameron's story winds up.

That's a lot of a Na'vi battling against the evils of humanity and many more adventures for Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to embark upon. And it's a roaring cinematic success after an uncertain time for movie theaters which have been on shaky financial ground since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. But what does director and "Avatar" auteur James Cameron have to say about the "Avatar" franchise's real purpose in the scheme of cinematic history? He recently explained that the franchise's existence means much more than dollar signs and possible award-season attention. It's about the very art of keeping cinema itself alive as we have known it since the 1910s.

Cameron says it's all about getting people to theaters

Per comments made to Variety on the red carpet for the 2023 Golden Globes, James Cameron is much more interested in saving America's movie theaters than breaking records.

"I'm not thinking of it in those terms," Cameron said, after the interviewer informed him about the latest set of records set to be broken by "Avatar: The Way of Water" at the worldwide box office. "I'm thinking of it in the terms of we're going back to theaters around the world. They're even going back to theaters in China where they're having this big COVID surge. We're saying as a society, 'We need this! We need to go to theaters.' Enough with the streaming already! I'm tired of sitting on my a**."

"Avatar: the Way of Water" isn't the only film making waves. "M3GAN" also pulled in lots of cash over the weekend of January 6, definitely indicating that audiences are willing to return to the theaters if there's something interesting waiting for them. 

Claiming the undivided attention of his audience notwithstanding, Cameron added that ultimately all of the work he's been doing on the series won't be in vain. "The point is we're going to be okay. I'm sure that we'll have a discussion soon with the top folks at Disney about the game plan going forward for 'Avatar 3,' which is already in the can –- we've already captured and photographed the whole film, so we're in extended post-production to do all that CG magic." He added that "Avatar 4" and "Avatar 5" have both already been written, with some footage already filmed for "Avatar 4."