James Cameron talks to EW about 'Avatar' DVD, the sequel, and the future of 3-D (and why 'Clash of the Titans' isn't it...)

avatar-dvdImage Credit: Mark FellmanWith Avatar‘s splashy DVD release now just two days away (April 22nd), we asked James Cameron why the disc is hitting stores without any extras (a loaded edition with six minutes of new scenes will come out before Christmas), what’s up with the sequel, and the what’s the deal with all this 3-D business. Here’s what he had to say.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The Avatar DVD that’s coming out this week is a pretty stripped-down disc. There aren’t a lot of extras…
There’s zero extras! There’s so few extras that you put it in, you push play, and the movie starts. There are no trailers, there’s no bulls— at the beginning that you have to endlessly go through. I have a deal with the studio and it goes like this: Any movie I make that makes over a billion dollars goes out without a bunch of crap trailers for your other movies.

That seems fair. But I think a lot of people look forward to extras…
I appreciate that. But so much of Avatar — two-thirds of the film — is CG. And a lot of the material we cut out of the movie [before its release in theaters] are CG scenes. So we’ve identified six minutes of those scenes and gotten Fox to agree to pay the money to finish those scenes. But that takes some time. It’s not something you can do right away. And I don’t think people wanted to wait until Christmas for their Avatar DVDs. The other thing for me is philosophical as a filmmaker: Avatar is the highest-grossing film in history, it got nine Academy Award nominations, why would I want to f— with that? Why would I want to change that? I want to drive a stake in the ground and I want to say, This is the movie we released and you can now own it. And then after that, with the fun new DVD and Blu-ray technology, you can do a brand new experience and add scenes back and to do supplemental stuff and we will bombard you with extras!

When will that be?
Probably November. But right now, today, if people want them some Avatar, they can get it. And I think they will. And then in August, we’re going to take those six minutes of deleted scenes and finish them up to a level of photo-reality equal to the rest of the film and re-release the film theatrically. Then we’ll get creative with the DVD technology in November.

So much of seeing Avatar in theaters was about the spectacle and the 3-D. Aren’t people going to lose some of that experience watching the DVD in their living rooms?
Don’t know. I’ve seen the film on DVD. My kids have watched it on DVD probably 10 times. I finally had to pry it out of their hands because they’re six and nine and they were learning too many bad words. They certainly don’t mind watching it on DVD. And I think the Blu-ray, watching it on a good size monitor, is a stunning experience visually. And let’s not forget that Avatar is a cool story with great characters and beautiful design and none of that is negatively affected by being in 2-D.

Will the more-loaded DVD that comes out in November have a 3-D element to it?
Not at this point. We haven’t announced when we’ll be releasing it on 3-D DVD. Our feeling is there just aren’t enough players out there. We don’t want it to come out and be a fart in the frying pan.

You mentioned these six minutes of new scenes. Are you one of these guys like George Lucas who likes to go back and tinker with their old films?
I’m not into revision. I think every film should be exactly as it was executed in the moment. We’re not changing the rest of the film, we’re just dropping these scenes in. I actually don’t believe…like when George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me. I certainly wouldn’t go back and do that to any of my films. A film I made in 1984, it’s what it is. It’s a creature of its time. But with these new scenes we’re adding, I think people certainly had an appetite for more Avatar than we gave them. Nobody complained about it being too long. The scenes we’re putting back are righteous scenes, they’re not Jake sitting around talking about his childhood.

What do you think about movies that are shot in 3-D like yours and Alice in Wonderland versus movies that are later adapted into 3-D like Clash of the Titans?
Here’s the issue: I draw a distinct line in the sand between films where you have no choice — Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones, James Bond movies, Terminator 2 — I would love to see all those films in 3-D and the only way to do that short of having a time machine, is to convert them. Now, on the other hand, if you’ve got a movie that’s coming out in seven weeks and you wake up one day with a wind bubble saying, I want to turn it into 3-D, that’s probably a bad idea. Clash of the Titans, even though it made some money, has set off this controversy that we’re going to piss in the soup of this growing 3-D market. If you want to charge a premium ticket price you have to give people a premium experience. So I’m against slapdash conversion. And I’m against anyone who’s making a major tentpole movie whether it’s a new Spider-Man film or a new Pirates of the Caribbean film and they want to release it in 3-D but they don’t want to take the time and the energy to shoot it in 3-D. Again, they’re charging the audience for something that they’re not delivering. But I think there is a role for conversion and we’re going to convert Titanic and we might do one or two of my other films when the costs come down.

If you could go back and shoot any of your other films in 3-D, which would you choose?
Well, I’d do ‘em all in 3-D. When I started working with the 3-D camera systems back in 2001, I said I’m not making another movie until I can shoot it and release it in 3-D. And that was part of the reason for the long gap between films because I was waiting for the exhibition community to get off the dime and get the screens in. I mean, Titanic in 3-D? That’s going to be great.

Will there be another long gap between Avatar and your next film?
No, back then I was doing a lot of deep-ocean exploration and I was building technology that we now have. So all of the impediments for another Avatar film don’t exist anymore.

So that’s the next film for you, then? An Avatar sequel?
We’ve got some other film projects as well, but in any case they’re going to be in 3-D and they’re going to utilize these technologies.

Okay, so I’ll ask you again: do you want to announce what your next film is?

Will it be Battle Angel, the film you were developing alongside Avatar?
It’s still a contender and I have a few other projects as well. I just need to sit down and think about it. We will absolutely do another Avatar film and it won’t be a 10-year gap. That, I can guarantee.

How long do you think it’s going to be before we can replicate the 3-D experience we had in theaters with Avatar in our living rooms?
We sort of have it right now. The technology exists. The sets are on sale. You can buy a 3-D Blu-ray DVD player. We haven’t done the 3-D remastering of Avatar for DVD yet and we don’t know when we’re going to release it yet, but I would imagine it would be some time next year.

Did any other directors give you feedback on Avatar when it came out?
I remember Michael Mann was very inspired. He’s got a film that he’s doing on a fantasy subject and he wants to shoot it in 3-D. And Steven Spielberg was really almost emotional about his response to the film. He was one of the first people I showed it to. I showed him part of it and he said, “The second you show yourself the movie from end to end, I want to be there! I’ll cut my vacation short and come back!” Ridley Scott came in and I showed him a half-hour of it and he got excited and wanted to go off and do a science fiction film…again! Where they all were when the DGA Award came around, I don’t know! [Laughs]

Is there any chance that this wave of 3-D is a passing fad like it was in the ’50s and ’80s?
No, it’s here to stay. You can completely discount the ’80s because there were only a few titles and it was sporadic. It never really caught on. The first wave started in 1951 with Bwana Devil and it lasted 18 months. And there were 25 3-D films in 18 months and then that was it. And all of the problems caught up. The problems with exhibition, the problems with photography and eye strain, the tendency of projectionists to get it out of sync. That’s not what’s happening here. This started six years ago and has steadily built over time. There’s been enormous validation from the audience around the world. And Avatar made an enormous amount of money — 75 percent of which came from 3-D screens. This isn’t going to go away. The audience gets it, the audience has spoken.

Comments (151 total) Add your comment
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  • Anna

    this man’s ego is just too big. the fact that it has earned the most amount of money doesnt make it the best movie ever, not even the most visited/seen movie as far as i know. sure, loved it when i saw it in 3D, but i didn’t think twice about it the next day. unlike other movies where you keep thinking: “that was so good” he needs a reality check!!!

    • Chip H

      Stop mistaking your own dislike of the film along with your ignorance of film facts for objective fact. *Objectively*, other than that other JC project about a boat, the last time a film was that well attended was 1982’s E.T. (and that’s counting its re-releases). So, if getting more asses in seats at any point since the VCR/DVD/Blu-Ray/Cable/Netflix/Bittorrent era began except for that other film of his doesn’t indicate that most people were quite taken with the film, then your quips about film attendance would be absolutely meaningless anyhow.

      • therealeverton

        Well said Chip.

      • JDD

        Except it doesn’t refute what was said. It is NOT the most viewed movie. Which is all the original poster said.

        Other than that, the ego is there for anyone who can read to see.

      • Chip H

        @JDD, technically true, yet, still completely wrong. The poster was repeating a set of generally incorrect or, at best, irrelevant points to try and prove the film wasn’t “all that”, and as someone who was around to see Star Wars in the theaters before it even was “Episode IV”, yes, for more people than any film in a long, long time, it was “all that”. Me, my wife, my daughter, all saw it repeatedly in the theater and have the DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack pre-ordered, and we don’t even have a Blu-ray player yet (last time I purchased a film in a format I couldn’t even play yet was the original Matrix for comparison). Like any film, it is not for everybody, but unlike just any film, it is massively loved and admired, and whatever ego JC may have, he at least has something to back up his ego unlike the hundreds of disgruntled and wannabe film critics who go out of their way in every Avatar related forum, thread, or blog post to opine that they know better than the millions who voted with their wallets again and again how much they appreciate his “spectacle”.

      • Anna

        look, i study film and television. and 90% of the people there agree that it’s not a good film. is it spectacular visually and did it deserve the oscars it did? yes of course! but it’s not the best movie ever, it’s not even close. he states in this interview that the story is solid, including the characters and such? really?

        all im saying is that he might have changed the way cinema is going to work for the coming years, but that he doenst have to get all smug about it.

        you can be god for all i care, but bragging and such is never a good quality to have in my opinion, and that is all this is.

      • Monty

        Part of Cameron’s ‘ego’ is just the fact that the guy works VERY VERY hard and expects nothing less from the people that work for him then he expects from himself. Maybe thats an unreasonable expectation for an employer to have for his employees, but when your last two films gross over 3 billion dollars, he knows what the phuck he’s doing.

      • Terry

        The guy cannot write dialog. Let me repeat: THE GUY CANNOT (CAN NOT) WRITE DIALOG.

        But his action sequences are great.

      • crispy

        LMAO at “i study film and television” … most unintentionally hilarious comment I’ve ever read on here. Where do you go to school, Devry?
        People are allowed to enjoy a movie even if they don’t “study film and television.” That’s the thing about opinions.

      • therealeverton

        Well said again Chip. I’ll add a little this time. What the Op basically said was that £2billion isn’t a lot of money. He said it isn’t a lot of money because it isn’t as much as £3billion. Because not EVERYONE who saw it loved it isn’t that good? You’ll find 83% – 93% roughly, just as with critics, liked / loved the movie; so the other % of people who just thought it was OK and the even smaller % who hated it are worth more than those that did? I mention the critics so as to avoid comparison with “bad” films that people just like because they’re bad (your average Emmerich film) or just great amounts of fun / coolness; say you’re above average Bay film.

        Ta Phoenix.

        Oh I “work” in the media (kind of) I write articles / blogs for the (why did they change the name?) SyFy channel’s UK website and I’ve come across very few people who dislike the film and fewer who don’t think it’s any good. The proof of that pudding is in the grosses and will be all the greater when the basic, no frills DVD / Blu-ray comes out. It will be huge.

        Again, like Cameron, I don’t equate money on its own with quality, but when we’re talking about such a large amount of money, in the modern era of home entertainment, AND critical praise AND praise from people in the industry it’s safe to say that something good has happened here.

        I’d love to see what people who think it is a bad film; not who don’t like it because you can dislike anything. (I dislike Chaplin, much prefer Keaton & Lloyd but I acknowledge his talent) I’m talking about people who think it isn’t a good film, and please not the people who confuse a movie plot with a movie story they are not the same, or cinema and television, and even plays would have died a death decades ago and Shakespeare wouldn’t have been remembered 5 weeks after his death. Kurosawa, Ford and Leone too.

      • therealeverton

        @ Terry Tue 04/20/10 6:36 PM

        Titanic apart what are you basing that on? He’s famous for writing some of the snappiest dialogue around. Aliens alone is still copied and quoted all the time. The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, T2!? Bad dialogue? I don’t think so.

        What in Avatar is bad dialogue as opposed to character appropriate dialogue?

      • JDD

        The thing is, Anna said he/she LIKED the movie. you are jumping all over this poster because she said it wasn’t all that. Guess what? it wasn’t.

        And Chip, I too was around to see Star Wars in the theaters. I was 13 at the time. It was an amazing journey to me. Because there were characters in the story that you could bond with. Whom you could actually want to be if it were possible.

        That is where Avatar is lacking in my mind. Aside from the fact that there was very little depth (heck, he pretty much made a more spectacular Aliens in my mind – big bad corporation that doesn’t care about anything but itself gets its comeuppance), there wasn’t a single character in there for the viewer to feel any kinship with.

        It wasn’t an adventure. It was an ooh and aah fest. An enjoyable one, I will give you. And damn it looked pretty. But it was by no means a magnificent film. It was a good, maybe even great movie. And when talking about certain things, you want films, not movies. And if you don’t understand the delineation I am trying to make in using the two words then there really is no point in debating. Because you don’t understand that you can have a great fun enjoyable movie that really isn’t anything resembling a work of art for anything other than its technical wizardry.

      • therealeverton

        I got the impression that people were “jumping all over” the fact that there’s a criticism of the man’s ego, which 1 seems irrelevant because the man HAS made some of the most successful movies of all time and has also made some of the best. Now that seems like something you can feel pretty damn fine about if you’ve done it. People are different, hence me Pele vs. Maradona example. There’s also the point that Anna states “earned the most amount of money doesn’t make it the best movie ever, not even the most visited/seen movie”, which is something that warrants a reply. Like I said £2billion is not a lot of money because £3billion is more? It just doesn’t hold water.

        Those points seem far more important in the debate here than simply the fact that she didn’t think Avatar was great. Lots of people think that; many more disagree. I happen to think you’re wrong and you can see that in my first, heavily edited, review…


        … I’m always eager to have a genuine debate with anyone on film, TV, comics, books whatever, and I think Avatar is not only one of the greatest pieces of entertainment ever made I also happen to think it an extremely good film, with far more depth and emotional resonance than you’d think on the bones of its, necessarily, familiar plot. A film that remembers what pure cinema was, with a distinct Eastern flavour to the use of body language, posture and facial expressions in place of words and a diction that fit the characters NOT a poor script. Once again the screen writer’s guild were under no obligation to nominate Avatar; they chose to, I would think because they were aware that simple diction does not = simple writing, quite the reverse is often the case.

      • Terry

        therealeverton: I am basing that on ALL of Titanic, most of Avatar, and tons of clunky dialog in moments like the scene in T2 where they break into Dyson’s house and Linda being is all Rambette… oh so bad.

        T1 and The Abyss have so much (good) action in them that most of the dialog there just serves to propel the story or fill in the backstory. Not much in the way of character really. Sarah spends most of the movie just freaked out.

        Aliens fares a little better, but agin the best spoken parts are just punch lines and would sound like crap if they weren’t performed by such good character actors.

        Also, quoted all the time? Who the hell quotes anything other than “I’ll be back” or “Hasta La Vista Baby”? And besides, those are just punch lines, NOT dialog which requires back-and-forth between characters. That’s where he falls apart. His dialog sucks.

      • benny

        I was sorta with you, Chip, until you said that Avatar is massively loved. What separates Avatar from many other huge blockbusters, and what Anna is sorta getting at in her comments about her colleagues, is that it AIN’T loved in the same way that, for instance, Star Wars and Titanic are. As with Jurassic Park, another landmark special effects blockbuster that I doubt makes anyone’s all-time top ten, the visuals are classic but the characters aren’t, and as a result the audience love can only go so far. Curiously enough, all four of these movies were heavily criticized for acting and dialogue, and yet two of the four feature characters that people love like family. Go figure.

      • therealeverton

        @ Terry Tue 04/20/10 7:53 PM
        So you’re saying one scene in T2 makes that whole film have bad dialogue. Even so the dialogue in that scene is note perfect; it is exactly what it needs to be for that character in that moment. Nothing she’s said in any point prior to that scene, in either movie, would suggest she’d say anything else, or say that any other way.

        I’m reminded of the infamous Harrison Ford line, “you can type” this shit but you can’t say. The actors are chosen to say, emote act and whatever else the dialogue that’s written so the “…would sound like crap if they weren’t performed by such good character actors” is totally nugatory. Especially as ANY dialogue right down to Shakespeare sounds crap if not delivered correctly. So much of Hudson’s manner as much as his dialogue, which again IS part of the scriptwriting, is used either directly or indirectly as are numerous lines, word, attitudes and phrases from Aliens in particular. The pace of The Terminator Sarah’s reactions, What Hicks says, on the move, the banter between Traxler and Vukovitch the state of the humans in the future all of this, not just the diction is great screen writing. “He absolutely will not stop; EVER (emphasis) until…” That is great, impact; get the message across character realistic dialogue and the film is full of it. Sarah’s robo-dad monologue if we need to get back to diction is top notch. Oh and Sigourney Weaver didn’t get an Oscar nomination for a Sci-Fi film (about as common as Halley’s Comet) because of a weak script or bad dialogue. “Did I’Qs just drop sharply while I was away?” Even the little things like “Hudson sir, he’s Hicks” make it work.

        The Abyss is full of quality moments and again is character appropriate, of course having some supreme acting talent, like the much under-appreciated Ed Harris brings out the best in the script, but contrary to your opinion that it is great actors improving the dialogue if the diction, the dialogue was poor a great actor would simply highlight the deficiencies. The power behind the interaction of Bud & Lindsey is that the diction is right for both characters and the talent with which they deliver their lines and act the unspoken ones brings out the quality of the script; it doesn’t paper over its nonexistent cracks. Watch Malkovitch, Cusack, Cage and co in the, entertaining but awful, Con Air and you’ll see what I mean. They may bring class to it but they merely shine bright beacons on to some execrable dialogue and clunky exposition / plot drivers.

        True Lies is what it is and makes no pretence to be anything other than pure action / comedy entertainment. It has issues, mostly around its portrayal of Arab Terrorists, and its failure to completely pull off female empowerment through perceived sexual subservience, but it is full of snappy dialogue and several good, and fun, character scenes.

        Titanic has been done to death but it’s neither as bad as you say nor as good as some think script wise.

        Avatar, like any other film is not perfect but I have no, or at least next to no, problems with its script at all. That’s either story wise (not plot, which is a fine plot by the way, repeated often in reality as well as fiction, because it’s a good one and a plot with a lesson each generation hopes the next will learn) or diction wise. The characters all speak as you would expect them too. No idiot speaks from those who should be clever, witty and verbose and no pompous verbosity from those who should meek or down to Earth. The script even goes so far as to point the way to many of the events that will unfold just to make sure that you “get it” and understand why this or that is just so.

        Also your idea that there is so much action in T1 & The Abyss that the dialogue mostly just serves to fill in back-story and propels the action is a classic missing of the point. A lot of the action IS the dialogue. The energy and information and emotion that you may get from a few pages of eloquent Dickens or a Shakespeare soliloquy is conveyed, much as in a lot of Eastern films, by the action, by the posture or positioning or something else that IS written, that is either in the script OR very much in the mind of a writer who knows he’ll be directing. A case in point is the script for Thelma & Louise. It called for the women to pull into a petrol station. Now Ridley Scott being one of modern cinema’s visual masters looked at the scene and, rightly, believed it would say so much about them, wordlessly and in mere moments if they reversed, dramatically into the station. That is visual storytelling and, whilst a rather blunt example an example nonetheless. Cameron writes that kind of detail in his scripts and as director of his own stories can keep things like that in mind even if he didn’t originally write them down. IT is things like that the supplement the spoken word, often, as in films like Crouching Tiger or Hero, supersede them. A reversing car, an inclined head the sound of a gun being cocked or a snarl ALL of these things are dialogue when dealing with cinema, not just the diction and Cameron is a master of it.

      • Skip182

        @crispy: you’re laughing at someone for having an education? look, you’re correct that people are allowed to enjoy a movie without schooling, but that’s not what the previous poster was saying. they commented that it was not a technically sound film. they study this type of thing in school, which gives them a better background and understanding than someone who didn’t attend the university. an analogy would be politics: while someone who never studied politics is allowed to have their own opinion, someone with a degree in political science is in a better position to understand and analyze details.

      • Brandy

        @ JDD Tue 04/20/10 7:08 PM – Totally disagree with your comment that there were no characters in Avatar that people could feel a bond/kinship to. Or as you said regarding Star Wars, “Whom you could actually want to be if it were possible.” And I would bet the majority of MMO players (World of Warcraft, etc) would also disagree with your comment.

      • Jones

        Hey Chip you’re gay

      • @NT

        Don’t forget all of the people pirating, and the fact that there are just so many more options other than going to the movies. Video games is really the only other alternative there needs to be, yet there are so much more.

      • kim

        I love jim doctorsfriends

      • Tuzo

        @Terry, I guess you’re totally right about Cameron’s dialog ever being quoted.
        “It was a bad call, ‘therealeverton’. It was a bad call.” ;)

    • therealeverton

      He’s made two of the 3 biggest films of all time. He’s made the most successful film of all time outside of North America, (standard & adjusted). He’s also made what are considered some of the finest Sci-Fi films of all time as well as just some of the best films of all time. He’s had critical and commercial success with almost all of his films, and the one “failure”, The Abyss, was reassessed as a quality film once it was restored to its “proper” length.

      Reality checking is not something he needs at all. It’s like any artist or sports person or door to door salesman. Some of the best seem quiet and humble etc but a lot of them have this larger than life persona, this unshakable belief in their own ability and skills. For those who know football (soccer) you can; take what you’ll usually see as the two greatest footballers of all time; Pele and Maradona.. Pele seemed humble and quiet etc but Maradona was all ego and noise; If either player had the other’s personality they may both have been simply good players. Cameron’s ego as you call it, his edge as I see it is most likely what drives him and what allows him to make either quality cinema or quality entertainment and usually both. It doesn’t bother me a bit. It aint like he runs around insulting people and it certainly doesn’t stop him being respected by his peers.

      • Tha Phoenix

        I completely agree with everything you say. Cameron is as good as he thinks he is – his ego equals his talent, so he can afford to talk like this.

        Besides, what did he say that isn’t actually true? Clash Of The Titans had CRAP 3D cause they were just trying to cash in. If I’m going to pay £10 – which is how much you have to pay for an IMAX 3D ticket in the UK – for a ticket, I want my 3D to be amazing – like it was in Avatar, which I ended up seeing twice. I do not want to waste my money watching something that is shoddy at best. By all means, do 3D – but make sure you shoot your movies in 3D. Which is why I’m glad POTC and Michael Bay aren’t jumping on this bandwagon. Only do it if you’re going to do it right.

      • Mike

        Yup, people these days try to hold others to such high standards that they certainly can’t meet themselves. There is such a thing as individuality, and oh, reality. Some people didn’t have perfect parents, the “ideal” maintstream American upbringing, etc. As long as the person doesn’t make others miserable, and is succesful, I WILL like him/her to some extent, and I will certainly respect them.

      • Josh L

        They are only the “biggest” films of all time because ticket prices continuously go up…and most certainly so because a huge chuck of Avatar’s revenue was on high priced 3D screen. Get a ticket sales breakdown of best viewed films of all time and Gone With the Wind may still hold the title.

        Avatar’s record will be broken simply because ticket prices will be higher. The records are broken and that film actually has LESS viewers. Ticket inflation helps to fuel the buzz around the movie industry because it guarantees that records will be broken. Add smell-o-vision to 3D films, add another $5 to the ticket price, and that film will over take Avatar as well.

    • maulvader

      I can’t seem to find where JC claims its the best movie ever because it earned the most amount of money. Oh right, he DIDN’T say that. The first poster witnessed that during a visit to Pandora.

      • C Men

        I don’t even really get much ego from THIS interview. Everything he said was true and great. I really liked the stuff about no previews on the DVD.

      • Jaymii

        Don’t forget JC has quite a dry snarky sense of humour as well.

      • gggYYDYDYg

        C Men is a raging pedophile.

    • ryan

      What other movies are you talking about? You sat and thought about home alone 2 for weeks at a time? This movie was talked about just as much as The matrix. Grow up Peter Pan!

    • Rosalia

      The ego does only seem that big because it’s in 3d.

  • topher

    I actually don’t mind that they’re releasing a second DVD with extras… since they are being upfront about it. Typically the studios don’t say anything so they can bilk you twice.

  • terry

    I hate this guy. Amazing how The Lord of The Rings had so much cgi yet they had all kinds of extras(and not just the extended versions). And many of us love movie trailers. But they just can’t get the extras done in time for this release. So will the next release be in 3D? Nope cuz we need you to buy it again after the special edition. And for the record, I don’t want to see Jaws in 3D. Jaws was “a creature of its time” so I see no need to do a “revision of history” and convert it to 3D. Cameron has a problem with Lucas tinkering with his films(so do I) but doesn’t have a problem changing the format of the film to 3D. Gosh, it couldn’t be because Cameron has a financial stake in the process could it? I don’t really care, I’ve seen Avatar, and it’s one of those films that I have no desire to see again. It was okay, just a kinda novelty, and without the 3D, I don’t see the draw to watching it again. “Let’s not forget that Avatar is a cool story wsith great characters”, uh, it is? What movie was he watching?

    • Kate

      Thank you so much! I feel like one of the few people that actually wasn’t impressed by Avatar. Aside from the 3-D there was nothing spectacular about it. It wasn’t some new storyline that we haven’t seen a million times and the acting wasn’t even that great. Its basically Pocahontas with blue people. Oh and for him to call it the highest grossing film isn’t exactly correct. Its only the highest grossing film if you don’t count inflation. With inflation it only ranks at like #32 or something like that. #1 falls to Gone With The Wind.

      • maulvader

        FYI, Avatar is #14 on the inflation adjusted list and will be at least #12 in a couple of weeks. But that’s just the US box office gross. It has made more than two-and-a-half times more outside the US, which means its #1 on the all time Worldwide list, adjusted or non-adjusted.

        Changing the format of a film (from 2D to 3D as Cameron wants to do) is very different from changing the content of the movie (as Lucas has done). Viewing those exact same movies in 3D only adds to the experience, rather than screw it up (as Lucas has so successfully done).

      • therealeverton

        Sorry you’re mistaken. First of all as Chip says above you have to take account of the times. Avatar is out in an era where a film gets one, short, release in theatres. Films like E.T, Star Wars & Gone With The Wind were out for up to a year and had numerous re-releases. If you really wanted to be “fair” you’d have to count say the first 6 – 9 months of a modern film’s rentals and possibly sales too. That’s just nonsense.

        As well as that you have to take account of the fact that there are numerous entertainment competitors, from piracy, I believe there were close to a million downloads of Avatar by release day(?), home viewing, the internet TV and gaming to consider before an expensive trip to the cinema.

        There’s more but I’ll end with this third thing, No film, adjusted or not, has made as much money “internationally” (as in outside of the USA & Canada)as Avatar; none. Add the North American grosses and Avatar slips to third, just behind Cameron’s Titanic which is just behind (shudders) Gone with everyone loves Slavery; Sorry Gone With The Wind.

        It’s a massive film by ANY standards and yes, just as with the critics, who were mostly positive, the other directors and producers & writers who all nominated it the public overwhelmingly enjoyed the film, (look up any respected movie opinion data). Now of course, as with ANY film, there are those who don’t like it; and the “biggest film of all time” will have a large number of people who don’t like it even though the % is pretty low. That’s fine; it’s just the distortion of facts to fit that dislike, by a few media outlets and web users that rankle. It leads to perfectly innocent posts like the one I’m replying to that feel based on facts but really aren’t. Oh and the 3D bump merely shows how willing people were to pay extra to see the film, and more than once too.

      • Monty

        @ terry Yes, LOTR had a lot of CGI/ but it was filmed mostly a practicle film, not an effects film. Avatar was pretty much exclusively filmed in front of a blue/green screen and the rest was added digitally. most of LoTR was filmed ON LOCATION IN NEW ZEALAND.

      • terry

        Yes, I realize that since Avatar was damn near a cartoon. But have you looked at the Lord of the Rings dvds? They had all kinds of extras. On one they even had a segment on a fan who had died. The point is, Cameron is a greedy bastard, not unlike Lucas, who is lying his ass off about the extras. If he wanted to put some on his disc, he could. He did the same thing with Titanic. There were plenty of extras he could’ve put on there, didn’t. That certainly wasn’t all cgi. I mean the guy has since put out a 2 disc special edition and a 3 disc edition. He’s released T2 several times. Now Titanic was released in the early days of dvd and you could almost excuse that, but LA Confidential(which I think is a infinitely better film than Titanic or Avatar) had a ton of extras on the FIRST release. And it wasn’t a short film either. Seriously, for all the Cameron lemmings out there that are gonna but this damn thing 3 or 4 times, aren’t you the least bit pissed? For the record, I haven’t bought a film on bluray that I already had on dvd(yet, but I know I will). And the only time I bought a dvd more than once, was for Roadhouse. Okay, not the greatest movie, but I bought the first one in a five dollar bin and only picked up the second one cuz Kevin Smith did the commentary and I thought that would be a hoot(it wasn’t bad, but I thought it would be better).

    • Zed

      Right on Terry & Anna. They’re going to milk this fat cow for all it’s worth. They probably still owe a pile of money to the Academy Awards and the cost of the media hype must have been enormous. If not for the 3D aspect, which is very good, this movie would not be anything special, just another movie… which it is.

      • therealeverton

        You’re both overestimating the power of 3D and underestimating the quality of the film and opinions of critics and moviegoers alike. You can try and blame “eye candy” seekers for the odd 2012 type success but you’re just being disingenuous if you’re seriously trying to attribute the highest grossing movie of all time (it is by Hollywood standards at the least….)on just the 3D is not really a very strong argument. Why on Earth would they owe the Academy any money? Also you can buy advertising, and they did, but the hype is a little harder to come by and guarantees nothing, plenty of failed movies can attest to that. Oh and let’s face it, with all of the deals, such as with LG they did the advertising budget and a fair chunk of the movie budget was well taken care of. Creative Hollywood accounting or not I think it’s safe to say Avatar has made something of a profit.

  • john

    Gosh he’s so arrogant.

    • Tom Strong

      Go back to your teabagger party waving the flag!

      • Genevieve

        It’s called an opinion. No one called James Cameron a murderer. gosh. I’m tired of everyone jumping down each other’s throat. It’s immature.

  • mscisluv

    Wow, I realize James Cameron has a lot to be happy about, but he comes off as a complete prick in this interview.

    • mscisluv

      Also, who would really want to buy Titanic in 3-D?

      • therealeverton

        I guess we’ll find out when it hits cinemas next year. It’s far from his best work but it was and remains a very popular film.

      • mscisluv

        I liked Titanic and even own it on VHS (not that I have a VCR anymore…). Still, re-releasing it in 3-D does nothing for me; I just don’t think it will be an improvement.

      • taylorrness

        I shamelessly love Titanic. I will definitely buy it in 3-D, and with a lack of a really great DVD version in NA (the UK’s is far better), I think others will too.

  • jr mint

    what a prick cam is

  • Roger

    Is it me or does James Cameron sound a little cocky in this interview?

    • C Men

      What part?

  • Karen B

    So, uh, Titanic in 3D… so we can feel the experience of ducking when bodies are falling? Ooh, to feel the drowning/freezing experience. Oh joy.

    James Cameron is so smug in this interview. It’d be infuriating if I expected anything different from him.

    I’ll put my money towards movies that emphasize plot over style. I have no desire to see Dances With Wolves 2: Smurfs in Space in the theatre, on DVD, or even on HBO.

    • Zoey

      The last part of your comment reminded me of the hilarious South Park episode “Dances With Smurfs”.

    • Jacob

      I bet you’re just the life of the party with that wit.

      • Jacob

        Sorry. I’m in a snarky mood…

    • therealeverton

      If you haven’t seen it how can you pass such judgment on it? The overwhelming majority of fiction has a familiar plot, it’s the STORY and the way you tell it that counts. If you haven’t seen Avatar then you have no idea how well or how poorly that was done. In fact your opinion would have to be formed by that of the public, critics and say the Writers’ and Director’s guilds, all of which are overwhelmingly positive.

      • Skip182

        It’s not a horrible movie, but it’s not that great. It’s not even in Cameron’s top 5 films. The problem is all it is is Smurfs meets Dances With Wolves. I love Cameron movies (yes…even Titanic…), but this was pretty weak. He broke his own rule of telling a good story over special effects. I expect more of the man.

      • Skip182

        Oh, and Fern Gully.

      • Bren

        But not positive enough to give him the major awards. The problem with his story was there were way too many points where he was “telling not showing” and it really slowed down the story. The Sully voiceover parts really dragged and were a bit annoying at times. I’ll gladly admit that visually the film was beautiful, but Pixar does beautiful animation, too.

      • therealeverton

        @ Bren

        No the film didn’t win, but since when does that mean something isn’t any good? I mentioned this earlier, there’s something that seems to make people say £2billion isn’t a lot of money because 33billion is more. It was considered one of the 5 best films of the year and one of the 5 best written. That’s pretty good. Ergo NOT bad. Many great films won no “major” awards, in fact worse than that they were derided or considered both critical and commercial failures until they were reassesed at a later date. Titanic has been very well received. there’s no buts it just has been, by both the public and the “experts”. End of story. What We going to say tough luck to Goodfellas and The Godfather for not being as good as Godfather pt II?

      • therealeverton

        @ Skip

        Not a bit of it all of the effects in Avatar serve to drive the story and to make it more convincing, to allow you to suspend your disbelief and take in the story visually, which is why it works so well on an emotional level and those who seem to have failed to connect emotionally seem to think the film is much poorer than it really is. It is a true cinematic spectacle and the effects are necessary for the story to be told effectively. From the bioluminescence to various head tilts and snarls or half snarls of Pandora’s creatures; the “extra pair of limbs even are all important, all serve a purpose in driving the story forward or showing the story visually instead of resorting to words all of the time. I’m sure there’s something but I struggle to think of a single effect in that film that was there for the sake of it rather than to enhance or tell the story.
        Sure that may change when I watch it at home but I’m doubtful.

  • Zoey

    It never ceases to amaze me how any interview James Cameron has can make him look like a self-righteous, pompous ***.

  • Ambient Lite

    Nice to know his 6 and 9 year olds are watching a body being slid into a fiery cremation chamber and violent battles over and over again. But yeah, let’s worry about the bad words.
    So bummed that the DVD won’t have a bonus blooper reel of awkward syncing scenes (giggles).

    • steph

      please, I watched Pretty Woman when I was 7.

      • C Men

        And the cremation scene in Pretty Woman puts the cremation scene in Avatar to shame.

      • Ambient Lite

        Maybe watching that movie during your formative years explains why you’re a whore now, Steph. ha ha
        C Men, thanks for getting the point. Gives me hope for the world.

  • Bryan

    I agree wholeheartedly with Cameron on this. I said to my people on Facebook. Any film released in 3D has very large shoes to fill because of Avatar. If it’s not shot with the correct equipment, I’m not paying the extra money…

  • miss k

    I knew people were going to tear Cameron down. Look, he’s the director of the two highest grossing films ever made. As far as I’m concerned, he can say whatever the hell he wants. He’s earned it. If you don’t like him, then don’t read his interviews. It’s that simple. Furthermore, I agree with what he says about 3D films. I’m not paying extra if the film isn’t a monumental masterpiece like Avatar. 3D is so not necessary for Clash of the Titans and How to Train Your Dragon.

    • topher

      He comes across to me in this interview as passionate, not egotistical. But I figured people were going to tear him down too.

      • therealeverton

        Thank you, I just couldn’t get the word to pop out! Passionate; and with a conviction and a sense that he’s absolutely right about what he says. I don’t get the hate. Like his films or don’t but for crying out loud you’d think he ate babies or something. I don’t like Emmerich films but I don’t feel the need to hunt down his talkbacks and trash the guy. He’s doing well for himself and good luck to him. And he actually makes BAD films, which Cameron does not.

      • Leslie

        I agree with topher, Cameron shows passion & enthusiasm imho, not so much arrogance like others have said. His movies are all phenomenal in one way or another, & he clearly is driven to provide the audience with something unique and interesting with every film he makes.

      • Bren

        He didn’t seem really full of himself as much as confident in his product based on how many people have seen it so far. When he talked about future projects he pretty much said “we” every time…which implies he’s talking about himself and the people he works with. If he were really extraordinarily arrogant, everything would be all about him and it clearly isn’t.

      • Big Walt

        I’m so glad others feel this way. I’m not even a Cameron fan or anything but I do like his straight forward attitude. I guess over sensitive people these days take that as egotistical and pompous.

    • therealeverton


      I agree with your point about 3D, again it’s something I wrote about a couple of months ago, but How to Train Your Dragon is an excellent film and its use of 3D was very effective. Clash of The Titans is a disgrace and I’m actually finishing of a few templates to “claim” all of our money back, (the 3D extras) because it wasn’t a 3D film, there were few scenes in 3D and they usually made the film harder to watch! Also not being made in 3D seemed to mean the film was too dark with the glasses on, although I thought the same with A Christmas Carol, which was made in 3D from the start.

  • Jacob

    I’m okay with James Cameron being a complete douche, as long as he continues to makes entertaining movies. The man is unbelievably talented as a filmmaker, but even the best and brightest among us have our faults. His is hubris.

  • Sirius Kinema

    Wow, another interview where James Cameron sounds like a pretentious lunatic. Nice dig about the DGA awards, too. I’m so sick and tired of this guy.

    • therealeverton

      This is exactly the point. The man can’t even make a joke without getting dumped on.

  • stevex

    Cameron is a very telented director, as well as a very greedy scumbag.

    • crispy

      Which makes him perfect for a career in show BUSINESS.

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