Avatar Sequels: Risky For Disney?
Over at CNBC, entertainment reporter Sarah Whitten is on fire. Her latest report centers around James Cameron’s Avatar series, with the statement: “Avatar sequels are a huge risk for Disney, but you can’t doubt James Cameron.”
Avatar: Fan Connection?
Whitten wrote of the risk inherent in creating a four-film slate of sequels:
If you were to ask someone to name one of the main characters from the movie “Avatar,” odds are they wouldn’t be able to. That’s the risk Disney has undertaken in continuing James Cameron’s vision of four more “Avatar” films.
While “Avatar” made its way to the top of the box office in 2009, and held the title of highest-grossing film for a decade before being dethroned last weekend by “Avengers: Endgame,” the film itself never quite entered the zeitgeist of pop culture the same way that “Star Wars,” Marvel or even “Princess Bride” has.
While the film was praised for its masterful visuals and Cameron’s revolutionary work changed how films were made, it was rarely referenced after a few years, save for the occasional story about another film nearing the “Avatar” box office record.
Amazing Box Office
Truth be told, I am not certain if I have ever watched the entire film. Produced as it was during my years of covering the Boston Bruins – I think I just missed it.
But a whole lot of other folks didn’t.
Disney didn’t need the “Avatar” sequels, Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said. “But, James Cameron is one of those guys that you want in your stable.”
Cameron is an esteemed director whose films have made more than $6.14 billion at the global box office and who currently has two films in the top five highest-grossing films of all time.
“In terms of the box office, James Cameron never loses,” Bock said.
What’s At Stake?
But it’s been a long time. And Cameron’s sequel slate wasn’t something that Disney put into production. So, in terms of risk — and the lack of ancillary connection to the franchise — what is actually at stake for Disney?
Nothing says Bock; with a caveat.
“Disney isn’t risking anything on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3,” Bock said to CNBC. “Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 are the risk.”