James Cameron says he clashed with the studio when making Avatar

Zoe Saldaña in Avatar
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Though five sequels are currently in the works, James Cameron says he clashed with 20th Century Fox when making the first film in the Avatar franchise.

"I think I felt, at the time, that we clashed over certain things," the filmmaker told The New York Times. "For example, the studio felt that the film should be shorter and that there was too much flying around on the 'ikran' – what the humans call the banshees. Well, it turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling and data gathering. 

"And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, 'You know what? I made Titanic. This building that we’re meeting in right now, this new half-billion dollar complex on your lot? Titanic paid for that, so I get to do this.' And afterward, they thanked me. I feel that my job is to protect their investment, often against their own judgment. But as long as I protect their investment, all is forgiven."

Titanic made over $660 million at the North American box office in 1997, and would go on to gross around $2 billion globally. Cameron beat his own record with 2009's Avatar which brought in $760 million and nearly $3 billion globally. 

A sequel, titled Avatar: The Way of Water, has been in the works for well over 10 years – with the COVID-19 Pandemic delaying this further – and arrives on December 14, 2022. Avatar 3, 4, and 5 are slated for 2024, 2026, and 2028 releases respectively. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2022 and beyond.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.