Released in 2009, director James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar quickly made its name in movie history as the highest-grossing film of all time. Avatar not only brings an attractive script, but also conquers the most demanding audiences thanks to its vivid, shimmering and realistic 3D images. This is also the first non-animated work made with 3D technology with a budget of up to 200 million USD – a huge number at the time more than a decade ago.
Avatar is currently the highest-grossing movie in the world – Photo: 20th Century Studios
In 2019, when the superhero movie line was in the sublimation stage, Avengers: Endgame easily “usurped” Avatar to become the most popular movie of all time. However, the joy was short-lived, this achievement did not last long because just a year later, Avatar regained its number one position thanks to its re-release in the Chinese market. To date, director Cameron’s blockbuster has grossed more than $2.9 billion in total.
This is the clearest proof that Avatar possesses a timeless and terrible charm. It would not be an exaggeration to say that if this movie is now open for ticket sales again, audiences will still be willing to “pocket their wallets” to support even if they have watched it over and over again. However, with such great success, why is it not until now, after 13 years, that the next Avatar sequel has been released?
Director James Cameron needs more time to explore the world
Director James Cameron spent a lot of time experiencing reality after Avatar closed – Photo: CBR
The official title of Avatar 2 is Avatar: The Way of Water. The name says it all, the main setting of this movie is the vast, beautiful oceans of Pandora, with the appearance of the Metkayina, a people living among the waves.
James Cameron is a person who loves sea life. He used to use submarines many times to explore the wreck of the Titanic. Immediately after filming Avatar, he even built a modern submarine to be able to conquer the deepest part of the ocean – the Mariana Trench. In 2012, he became the first individual in history to dive to a depth of 6.8 miles (10.9km) on his own.
In addition, the talented director also participates in many activities in support of vegetarianism, eating food alternatives to meat, as a way to protect the environment and his own health. In 2018, he helped produce the documentary project Game Changers to share about athletes with special diets, based on vegetables, roots, fruits and other plants.
In short, instead of rushing to produce Avatar sequels, Cameron took the time to rest, enjoy life, and accumulate more practical experience to be able to include in future works. mine.
Avatar changes: From 3 to 5 movies
Avatar is James Cameron’s huge ambition – Photo: 20th Century Studios
Initially, James Cameron had planned to only produce a total of 3 Avatar movies. He started planning the sequels in 2012, and officially worked with the screenwriters in 2013. However, Cameron’s plan was forced to change when he wanted to exploit many stories. further in his fantasy world, and increased the number of films to 5 series. Sharing with the New York Times, he said that the process of writing the script for the next 4 films, including Avatar: The Way of Water, took about 4 years.
The new works will focus on introducing various new Na’vi groups and new locations in Pandora. In addition, the special feature of Avatar is the attention to detail in the flora and fauna system of its fictional planet, as well as the way the nature here affects the customs and lifestyle of the Na people. ‘Because. This requires writers to spend a lot of time creating different biomes for Pandora. All the detailed features such as appearance, clothing or living characteristics of the new Na’vi ethnic groups have “taken up” their period of 5 years of research and creation.
Besides, James Cameron also participated in a series of other “follow-up” projects such as Disney theme park, Avatar Flight of Passage amusement park, or Na’vi River Journey (a trip across the river of the Na’ people). Because). In other words, he was always devoted to his brainchild, but had to allocate time to implement other plans instead of just focusing on building Avatar sequels.
James Cameron must invest in underwater recording technology to serve the next blockbuster of Avatar
Technology is also one of the reasons why the production of Avatar: The Way of Water takes so long – Photo: 20th Century Studios
More than a decade after its debut, Avatar is still beautiful and sparkling compared to today’s top blockbusters. This is largely thanks to the motion-capture/mo-cap technology that Cameron has thoroughly applied to capture every movement of the actor’s face and body smoothly and create beautiful scenes. Na’vi people are the most genuine and lively.
In the next film, he still wants to continue using this technology, but with the setting in the vast ocean – a huge ambition and it takes a lot of time to develop the optimal solution. best. In the end, Cameron and the production team decided to create special underwater cameras, and collaborated with Weta Digital, the “giant” in the visual effects village, to upgrade the image quality in the process. post-production by artificial intelligence.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Cameron said that initially, his colleagues wanted to apply a “dry for wet” approach to the shooting process. This is a technique that uses smoke, color, and light, combined with special effects to create the effect as if the actors are operating in the water. However, the male director opposed this option on the grounds that it did not bring authenticity to the film.
To prove his point, he even had two test recordings, “dry for wet” and actual filming underwater. The results obtained bring quite a big difference in terms of image quality. That’s why, Cameron decided to spend a lot of time optimizing underwater filming technology, before officially entering the shooting process of Avatar: The Way of Water.
Filming took up to 3 years
The production of Avatar: The Way of Water took a lot of time for James Cameron – Photo: 20th Century Studios
James Cameron decided to shoot Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 at the same time, because he understood how much time each part of such a movie could “take up”. However, because of having to “weigh” both projects at the same time, the shooting process of Avatar: The Way of Water was also longer than that of other movie blockbusters. This movie started filming in 2017 and closed 3 years later, with a relatively long period of time being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides, Cameron also set very strict requirements for the cast and production crew. Most of the time they had to shoot in a 900,000-gallon water tank, built specifically for this movie. Because the air bubbles created by the diving equipment can interfere with filming, the actors spent months practicing holding their breath for as long as possible. According to some reports, actress Kate Winslet is the one holding the highest achievement when she can hold her breath underwater for more than 7 minutes. In addition, the post-production process for Avatar: The Way of Water is also extremely complicated and takes a lot of time.
With such “playable” investments, it is not surprising that Avatar: The Way of Water needs a huge amount of money. In a recent interview with GQ, James Cameron said this film needs to make the list of the Top 5 highest grossing films of all time in order to break even.
Avatar: The Way of Water will officially premiere on December 16 here.
Source: 20th Century Studios, Time, CBR