Last week, some film fans were surprised when Disney and Lucasfilm moved Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII to December 2017. Not because they thought Episode VIII didn't belong in December, but because that was already set to be a pretty stacked month. Along with an array of smaller releases like The Croods 2 and The Six Billion Dollar Man, December was the home of two major heavy hitters- Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One and James Cameron's Avatar 2, which he had previously stated would be ready for a Christmas 2017 release date. With all of those new releases, it was set to be box office pandemonium. Pundits and fans were giddy with excitement over what was going to possibly be the most epic box office showdown in history. Unfortunately, that fervor didn't last for long- earlier this week, The Wrap confirmed that Cameron's sequel to the highest grossing worldwide hit of all time will not be ready in time for December 2017. Not shocking at all, considering Cameron's track record of delaying films, but it does beg the question- will Avatar 2 ever be made?
The short answer is yes. Not making Avatar 2 would leave far too much money on the table. Cameron has been teasing a return to Pandora for the past seven years, stating that he plans to make another three films to complete his quadrilogy. In addition to that, Disney's Avatar Land will be opening soon in their Animal Kingdom Park and the plan to connect the opening of the theme park with a sequel to the sci-fi hit has been in the cards the whole time. But on top of that, the question remains- if it ever gets made, would Avatar 2 be a hit? There's a great article by Scott Mendelson over at Forbes that you should definitely check out, as it describes a lot of the problems with the Avatar series (link here) and how the film's cultural impact is next to zero. Very few people care about that movie anymore. The world has moved on and the interest in a return to Pandora is low. The connection to the series and the characters is waning and there's good reason to believe that most people have forgotten about the film at this point.
However, I think that if Cameron can come up with something truly revolutionary (which he has discussed numerous times before), then there's a very good chance that the film matches the original at the box office. Because that's what made the original special in the first place- the technology. People went to see Avatar because they'd never seen an immersive 3-D experience like that, and I understand why Cameron is waiting to see if he can find a way to top himself. But if he doesn't get moving fast, this film could be stuck in development hell forever. The clock is ticking.
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