James Cameron is setting expectations for how much Avatar: The Way of Water would have to make in order to break even.
The film director recently opened up to GQ and said that the long-awaited Avatar sequel was “very f***ing” expensive to make and it “was the worst business case in movie history.”
“You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history,” Cameron said about returning a profit on the film. “That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.”
The original Avatar film was released in 2009 and according to IMDB Pro, it had a budget of $237 million and was able to gross $2.9 billion worldwide — the highest-grossing movie of all time. In order for The Way of Water to achieve what Cameron hopes for, it would have to overtake Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens which currently sits at No. 4 with $2.69 billion.
Previously, Cameron had already hinted that if the Avatar sequel underperformed at the box office, the third installment of the movie series could be the last.
“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘OK, let’s complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly’, if it’s just not profitable,” he told Total Film in an interview.
Cameron continued, “We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even. It’s the one-two punch – the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theatre is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a shit now?”
Avatar: The Way of Water premieres in theaters on December 16.