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Looking Back at the Influence of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’

Avatar Jake and Neytiri
20th Century Fox

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Looking Back at the Influence of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’

Avatar 2 is getting closer to being a reality. 13 years later, will anyone care to see it?

Sunday, director James Cameron announced that “Avatar 2” had finished principal photography. This sequel is the subject of a lot of discussion across the internet about its relevance and necessity, as well as the fact that the sequel is releasing 13 years after the former highest-grossing film of all time. With that said, what influence has the original had since its release, and why does it seem to have fallen out of the public consciousness?

Typically, when a movie makes major waves at the box office, a sequel or spinoff is ordered right away; see the “Parasite” TV series and the upcoming “Halloween Kills”. When “Avatar” released in 2009, it became the highest-grossing movie of all time by the end of its run, and held onto that title for 10 years until “Avengers: Endgamebeat it out last summer. And in 2010, Cameron announced two sequels to the film, hoping for the first to release in 2014.

Unfortunately, like many other Fox films, the “Avatar” series was met with numerous delays: the decision to develop five sequels instead of two, the need for new technology, Cameron’s work on other projects, and the Disney-Fox merger all contributed to the ever-delayed release of these movies. Of course, the latest delay came at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic.

With Sunday’s announcement comes the promise of first looks to come, and even maybe a trailer one day. However, will anyone care? One major draw to the first “Avatar” was the film’s remarkable 3D effects. These not only drew in crowds wanting to see the new and improved technology, but also drove up box office numbers due to moviegoers buying the more expensive tickets. With 3D no longer the big draw it used to be, will Avatar have the same power at the box office?

Another issue to consider is “Avatar’s” age. After “Avatar’s” release, the only thing related to the movie we saw was the new land at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. One major complaint about the movie is its lack of an interesting story or memorable characters, so will anyone care when “Avatar 2” comes out?

Now, I personally would be shocked if “Avatar 2” was a total flop. No matter its staying power in popular culture over the past decade, James Cameron is undoubtedly still a huge draw, and “Avatar” absolutely still has name recognition. That name recognition may start and end with “the movie about the blue people that made a lot of money”, but that may just be enough. Until then, of course, only time will tell.

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