Ahead of Avatar returning to theaters in 4K, James Cameron has revealed that he rejected Fox’s notes about the film by pointing out how Titanic had paid for a large portion of the studio’s new lot. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Cameron claimed executives had concerns about the film’s length and wanted to cut down the flying scenes.
“I think I felt, at the time, that we clashed over certain things,” Cameron recalled. “For example, the studio felt that the film should be shorter and that there was too much flying around on the ikran — what the humans call the banshees. Well, it turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling and data gathering.”
He continued, “And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, “You know what? I made Titanic. This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion dollar complex on your lot? Titanic paid for that, so I get to do this.”
According to the director, Fox “thanked” him for standing his ground. Cameron added, “I feel that my job is to protect their investment, often against their own judgment. But as long as I protect their investment, all is forgiven.”
Cameron went on to say that he thinks the 2009 film is “still competitive” with current special effects. “I felt pretty good about the creative decisions that were made back then,” he said. “We spent a lot of time and energy improving our process in the decade-plus since. But there’s certainly nothing cringeworthy. I can see tiny places where we’ve improved facial-performance work. But it doesn’t take you out.”
Clocking in at 2 hours and 42 minutes, Avatar remains the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide, crossing the $1 billion mark on just the 19th day of its international release. It has earned more than $2 billion at the box office to date.
Avatar will return to theaters on September 23rd in IMAX and 3D formats ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water, the long awaited sequel opening in the US on December 16th. Avatar 3 is slated to land in theaters on December 20th, 2024, followed by Avatar 4 on December 16th, 2026, and Avatar 5 on December 22nd, 2028.