‘Avatar 2:’ How long will we realistically have to wait?
James Cameron junkies get their fix this weekend with the release of “Titanic 3-D.” But how long will moviegoers have to wait for something new from the master of the interplanetary and the blue-tailed?
When it initially announced "Avatar 2" a little over a year ago, studio Fox was hopeful for a 2014 release. But Jon Landau, Cameron's producing partner and sometime interview-giver-in-chief, created a small stir this week when he told the website Empire that the sequel, which is expected to take place largely underwater, may not be ready until 2015.
"We're not naming dates, but I think 2014 will be a tough date for us to make. It's about getting it right," said Landau, noting that effects work has begun on the film. (Landau added that "movies make release dates; release dates don't make movies," a position that only a studio filmmaker named James Cameron has the luxury of taking.)
Landau's comments sounded alarm bells throughout the blogosphere, though the truth is that it's more optimistic than the date range the producer offered in his last round of interviews, when he intimated it could be 2016 before the film is ready.
Cameron isn’t known for speed at this stage of his career. Though he made four movies between 1989 and 1997, it took him 12 years to get his next movie completed, with "Avatar" not hitting theaters until 2009.
Cameron's meticulous work style is amplified by his clout — studios wouldn’t generally tolerate years of waiting from, well, nearly any other filmmaker. It helps to have the two highest-grossing movies of all time ("Avatar" and "Titanic").
Also not moving things along is the fact that Cameron has been spending a lot of time lately under the sea. After journeying solo to the depths of the Mariana Trench, he’s next joining up with a crew in Guam, where he'll make two more dives. Then he’ll come up for air and begin pre-production on “Avatar 2.” As the filmmaker conceded to my colleague Rebecca Keegan recently, "My purpose in making a movie is to make enough money so I can dive.”
Add to these factors the new film’s underwater setting and all the logistics that implies, and don't be surprised if 2016 is where we end up. A James Cameron release is often just around the corner, except not quite.
Photo: "Avatar." Credit: 20th Century Fox