With franchise films dominating Hollywood like never before, it's worth noting three sequels to the biggest film of all-time are on the way by the end of the decade.
"Avatar" opened to a good but hardly mind-boggling $77 million it's opening weekend in 2009. However, the groundbreaking visuals helped make it THE definition of a must-see - the kind even Marvel Studios, Christopher Nolan's Batman and Katniss Everdeen could only dream of replicating.
"Avatar" had such strong legs, it not only broke the domestic box-office record of $600 million during it's initial 1997 run, it shattered it - finishing with a mind-boggling $749 million.
Worldwide, the film was a phenomenon as well. A billion dollars worldwide is still rarified air. "The Avengers" was an unbelievable worldwide success and generates $1.5 billion worldwide.
That's good for third all-time - but "Avatar did almost TWICE as well! It's worldwide box-office total is $2.7 billion!
"Titanic" is the only other film to have a worldwide box-office take over $2 billion - and Cameron directed that as well!
Cameron constantly takes his time and gives ticket buyers a unique experience. The ONLY hope other studios have that he won't swamp the box-office with his three "Avatar" sequels that are rumored to hit in 2016, 2017 and 2018 is if Cameron is unable to raise the high bar he has set for himself and the rest of the industry.
Which is why some statements Cameron made in an interview with "Empire" should have rival studios afraid. very afraid:
“I can tell you one thing about them,” Cameron laughs . “They’re gonna be bitchin’. You will shit yourself with your mouth wide open.”
Despite early rumours of a move to 60 frames per second, 48 is Cameron’s choice of frame rate for the sequels. “My thinking at the time was that 60 [FPS] might be a better segue to the video market,” he says. “I’ll be plugging into a system that’s a little more mature, so it makes sense for me to do 48 frames at this point.”
The writer/director has divided the two scripts across a writing team that includes Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman and Shane Salerno. “I think we met for seven months and we whiteboarded out every scene in every film together,” Cameron explains, “and I didn’t assign each writer which film they were going to work on until the last day. I knew if I assigned them their scripts ahead of time, they’d tune out every time we were talking about the other movie,” he laughs.
Which means Cameron, unsurprisingly, is not mailing it in. He never does. The man could have become a very rich man if he were content to do "Terminator" sequels or helm "Spider-Man".
Instead, he continues to have a unique vision and a passion to truly wow his audiences.
Given how the Worldwide Box-Office and number of IMAX theaters have only grown since 2009, the "Avatar" sequels could truly be an unstoppable juggernaut, not just another hit.
What will make that a certainty is if the films, fueled by Cameron's passion and vision, become absolute must-sees on the level of their predecessor.