Written by Nirmal Thrideep | Updated: September 5, 2020 11:53:02 am

It was recently announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the production and post-production for James Cameron’s Avatar 2 had been delayed, causing the release date to be pushed from December 2021 to December 2022. This is the 8th delay that the film has had to face, making it one of the films on the list of the longest production times for a mainstream film.

Plan for sequel

Director James Cameron had plans for sequels even before the release of the first film, and after its unprecedented box-office success, sequels were inevitable. They were confirmed soon after in 2010, and it was announced that two sequels had been planned and greenlit. However, the writing process took far longer than anticipated, resulting in over 4 years being spent in finishing the scripts, and this meant that the films would never meet its 2014 and 2015 release dates.

The production was further delayed multiple times due to writing delays, the need to develop new technology, and the addition of two more sequels. It is now rumored that Avatar films from 2-5 are in production simultaneously resulting in a budget of over a billion dollars.

Budget of the Avatar 2

Such a production budget is almost unheard of, and it is definitely uncommon for four films to be shot at the same time. It is natural to wonder how studios could greenlight such a huge project, and the answer lies in two parts. One, the director James Cameron is an industry veteran, known for some of the most successful films and franchises such as Titanic and Terminator. Two, and the most relevant is the first Avatar film.

Released in 2009, Avatar did not take long to become the highest-grossing film of all time with box office returns upwards of 2.7 billion dollars. It held this position for 10 years till Avengers: Endgame displaced it last year. However, the first Avatar is an interesting case in the history of cinema – never has a film made such an economic impact and left so little cultural impact.

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Legacy of Avatar

The truth is that while the film remained the highest-grossing film of all time for 10 years, its legacy was little more than that. It did not take long for audiences to forget the fil, and even before that, all its praise was for the technical aspects. The franchise has never had what one would call a fanbase, and has almost nothing 11 years from then, making the upcoming 4-film venture one of the biggest risks in Hollywood.

The film was often criticized for its generic story, and less-than-great acting from the leads, drawing praise mainly for the visuals and the enhanced 3D effect. However, with 3D films being little more than cheap gimmicks today, the only things that could draw audiences to the upcoming sequels are the visuals, the colorful and vast world of Pandora, and James Cameron’s creativity. It would not be a far reach to say that the sequels may not see the same kind of success that the first film saw.  

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However, there is news about the film that gives some hope – such as the return of the director and most of the original cast including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Giovanni Ribisi. The film is supposed to take place many years after the vents of the first one and would follow characters we know as they have grown older and built a family. New additions to the cast such as Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel, and Oona Chaplin also look promising.

The premise suggests that the film would explore the oceans of Pandora, something that was not seen in the first film. Cameron had been developing special technology to film under the sea and the film is sure not to disappoint in the technology aspect. However, it remains to be seen if a sequel releasing 13 years after the first movie will find any significant success.    

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