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The Real Reason James Cameron Doesn't Want You Watching Avatar On Your Phone

"Avatar: The Way of Water" proves the old adage true once again: never doubt James Cameron. Much like the first "Avatar" film, the second installment in the franchise is an undeniable success financially. As of this writing, the blockbuster movie has grossed well over $1.9 billion dollars at the worldwide box office (per Box Office Mojo) and there's absolutely no reason to believe it won't hit $2 billion and beyond. While it's very doubtful it'll reach the heights of the original's record-breaking $2.9 billion, the fact that it's done this well is a testament to Cameron's appeal.

It's also seemingly further proof that audiences will still flock to theaters when there's something they deem worth seeing. Cameron has long championed the theatrical experience over watching movies at home on televisions and phones, even going so far as to recently say that he was tired of sitting at home and watching movies on streaming services (per Variety). And in spite of the rise in popularity of premium streaming networks, he's not exactly alone in this way of thinking. Renowned filmmaker Christopher Nolan heavily criticized HBO Max for their hybrid theatrical and streaming release strategy during the height of the pandemic (per Hollywood Reporter). 

However, Cameron's reasons for not wanting audiences to first experience his "Avatar" movies on their phone, in particular, goes beyond some illogical hatred for the at-home viewing experience, and he has some strong words to support his opinion.

Cameron does not believe audiences get the same emotional experience watching movies on their phone

During a recent interview with NPR, James Cameron talked about the experience of finally making "Avatar: The Way of Water," as well as the nature of trying to make sequels in general. The visionary director also revealed, once again, that he's not generally a fan of how audiences view films at home. Surprisingly, his reasoning has little to do with the size of the screen and more to do with the option to multitask ruining the emotional experience of the film, especially when watching on a phone.

"If you watch 'Way of Water' at home on a reasonably large flat screen TV with a decent sound system and you sit close enough and that way across the room, you're going to have a good experience," Cameron said. "When you start looking at something on a phone, you're sort of missing the point. Going to a movie theater is less about the size of the screen and the perfection of the sound system. And it's more about a decision to not multitask."

Cameron believes that this leads to a lack of emotional response to movies as well. "People don't cry as much when they watch a movie at home as they will in a movie theater. You don't have the depth of emotion," he said. It's definitely true that watching a movie at a theater provides less opportunity to be distracted by the outside world, especially since it's a shared interactive experience. Still, it's probably not an opinion that everyone is going to agree with, as there are always going to be viewers who simply prefer the comfort of watching movies in their own homes.