James Cameron's Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time, beating the next film by $600 million. It got everyone and their mother to see the movie and got millions to go back a time or two. But what did it not do?
Leave a lasting impact on pop culture.
Avatar came out December 18, 2008. It amazed people with it's gorgeous 3-D. But the story was quickly compared to a hundred different movies. Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, and Ferngully: The Last Rainforest just to name a few. And with the boom of 3-D that followed, it became cool to hate on Avatar. I doubt that you will find very many people willing to say they even like the movie. It's not a movie you can quote and not a movie that launched anyone. Heck, Zoe Saldana got more press from Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avatar made two billion more dollars. And it just lost it's title of highest grossing weekend for an original property to Inside Out.
But the movie still made a lot of money. Pretty much everyone saw it. It even won a few Oscars. And the effects still hold up, even on DVD. Yeah, it wasn't the most original and it didn't have the most memorable characters, but it shouldn't have been so quickly forgotten. Yet, it has been. It's not quoted. No one mentions it in the conversation when you bring up the best movies of the 2000s. Kids stopped dressing up as the Na'vi as soon as they started. And the only time I really hear about the movie is when we are talking about its sequels or what is the most overrated movies.
It was a movie that was ripe for sequels. And if Cameron wasn't the director, Fox would've made it one already. They're coming out with three more movies starting 2017 (after being delayed a few times), but they have probably missed their window. They are running into the same problem Star Trek did. Star Trek had four years in between films and the sequel didn't do as well. Sure, even if Avatar 2 makes only half of the first one, it'd still make $1 billion. But I'm not even sure it'd make that much. These are movies that should have been made already.
We live in a world were sequels are the top movies. Were we are not allowed to forget about certain movies and franchises. Were one-off movies can easily be forgotten, no matter how much money they make. But while movies like Inception, District 9, and Zombieland are remembered and loved, Avatar is not. Maybe because it became cool to hate it. Maybe because it started the movie industry into it's latest round of loving 3-D. Maybe it was just a flash in the pan. Just something that became a event that could never stand on its own.
Whatever the reasons, Avatar has been forgotten by the majority of people. It's not a bad film. It's a fun and entertaining watch. The characters and plot aren't the most original, but the effects hold up and the movie still looks great. I don't know what the future holds for the upcoming sequels. But Fox is confident if the sequels. And Disney is willing to bet on an Avatar Land for their parks in 2017. Those are two companies that know how to make franchises. For better or worse.