The sequel to Avatar seems to be forever existing in a state of development hell. The cast all swears it’s there, and James Cameron keeps on writing, but whenever the media turns their attention back to it it’s always seemed to have been pushed back another couple of months. It’ll probably come out at some point, though probably not at the date it’s slotted to now, but, to be honest, I don’t think it should, because I believe it’s going to really under perform. Now, I don’t mean that it’s going to bomb, I’m sure it will make a healthy profit for Fox, but I do think it’s going to fly well under the gross of the biggest blockbusters of recent years, possibly even under the 1 billion mark. This seems like a ridiculous notion. Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time, by a huge, 700m margin. But looking at past films like this, and the place that Avatar holds in pop culture, I think there is precedent.
But even ignoring this trend, it’s important to acknowledge what made Avatar so big, and accept that the sequel won’t have any of these things to help it. The original film undoubtedly benefited from being the first big 3D blockbuster of its time, and unless James Cameron introduces some sort of 4D cinematic experience where the cinema-goer is tickled with the weird sex tails of the Na’vi (I honestly wouldn’t put it past him), Avatar 2: The Age of Unobtanium isn’t going to have that pull. Also, filming with motion capture technology isn’t as big a deal as it was in 2009, so there’s that gone. Actually, the whole concept, a gigantic CGI-created world, is much less incredible these days, a video game movie is about to do it in a couple of months. The things that made Avatar revolutionary in it’s time are no longer really of any note, and of course they aren’t, they’ve been copied to tedium since its release. Avatar 2 simply doesn’t have any of the positives that made the first one such a huge hit, and, combined with the fact that it’s the sequel to a film that has fallen pretty badly in status over the last couple of years, I really think it will under-perform. It hasn’t got the goodwill of something like a Marvel or Star Wars film, and it hasn’t got the eye grabbing premise the first one has. Maybe Fox should stop plotting out sequels until the end of linear time and just let this one go. Let James Cameron make another original film that will surprise everyone and make 7 billion dollars. If they go ahead with this Avatar sequel they may not want to make the planned 2 others, because the evidence points to an underperformance.
What do you think about Avatar 2. Is it needed?, will it perform as well, better, or worse than the original? Talk about it in the comments, and if you enjoyed this article, follow this blog on Twitter (@boxofficebreak1).
*Under Revenge of the Fallen (2009)