01 Jul 2021 5:43 PM +00:00 UTC

Why Avatar 2 is Taking So Long to Make and The Reason it Might Flop

Fans of the original have been patiently waiting years for an Avatar 2 Release Date announcement. The film finally has an official release date of December 16th, 2022! We don't know yet if it will be available to stream on Disney+, or if it will be a theatrical exclusive.

Avatar had held the seat of being the highest-grossing film until Avengers: Endgame was released. Holding the throne for so long, its sequel, Avatar 2 came along with it as there has been a series of delays due to various reasons.

James Cameron, the director of Avatar, said that he is also worrying that the Avatar sequels might flop even after the confirmation that the Avatar 2 has already finished filming.

What is taking Avatar 2 so long?

A year after the release of Avatar, James Cameron announced that it will be having two sequels to be released in 2014 and 2015 but in 2012, it was confirmed by the film's producer, Jon Landau, that due to production concerns, the release was pushed back.

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Credit: 20th Century Fox

In late 2013, James Cameron purchased land in New Zealand to shoot the sequels there. Even the New Zealand government proudly acknowledged this and confirmed that three Avatar movies will be shot in their country.

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The announcement was made in December 2013, making it highly unlikely that it will be released in 2014. Fox even revealed that the scriptwriting had just started. Fox then pushed the release date to December 2016, then Cameron pushed it a year further.

According to Cameron, getting the story to work has complexities for a saga with three films that one doesn't get in making just one film. Cameron also revealed that the three films were being written simultaneously to keep everyone in the production team on track.

In April 2016, the release date was pushed back again and there would now be four sequels to Avatar. The first of the four was scheduled in December 2018, and the following for 2020, 2022, and 2023 respectively. Months before the awaited release in 2018, Cameron said that 2018 is not going to happen.

A scene from Avatar
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Credit: 20th Century Fox

Fox finally set-in-stone release dates for the films: December 18, 2020; December 17, 2021; ­December 20, 2024; and December 19, 2025, claiming it to be absolute and unmovable. Yet another bump on the road, Fox was taken over by Disney in March 2019. With this, the absolute and unmovable dates were pushed back for the nth time. In addition to that, the pandemic changed the whole game for 2020.

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Cameron is known for being a perfectionist which makes him work at a light speed as compared to other filmmakers. He touches every nitty-gritty of details. With three teams working on the script, possibly even four considering that there are four sequels, Cameron had to sit with every team to ensure that his vision will be what the script would say.

Also, Cameron is shooting not one, but three films altogether. This is a tedious task to do as each film would need to be complete. Cameron even had to invent groundbreaking technology to shoot the first film, what more for three films done at once? And with Avatar 2 set underwater, Cameron invested in a purpose-built submarine.

The possible reason for the flop of Avatar sequels

A scene on Avatar
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Credit: 20th Century Fox

In 2009, 3D was a rather new thing, and having Avatar in 3D, the hype of the film skyrocketed making Avatar a must-see film. With Avatar 2 taking a long break, new improvements in the filmmaking industry have been introduced and many are assuming that Avatar 2 might just be another billion-dollar sequel sans the FOMO factor people had before as it would not have a stronger impact than that of the first film.

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Another is that it took more than a decade to arrive that the hype of the fans in 2009 might not be carried over considering the huge amount of weight. The market also changed drastically with the 12-year interval: the youngsters who enjoyed Avatar might even have kids already. The huge time-jump will surely play a factor in the success of the sequels.

It would also be competing with franchises with a huge fanbase like that of Star Wars, Marvel, and DC. To have such competitors would make it difficult to get back in the limelight and build a fan base of its own.

Cameron, worried but still hopeful, said he's going to try to still pull it off, maybe another great masterpiece in the making, considering the availability of new platforms such as streaming services. With all the possible reasons for its flop, Cameron can still use these to his advantage as it will still spark that curiosity, that excitement, and that legacy that it had before.

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Credit: 20th Century Fox

Having Disney on Cameron's side, marketing can also be relatively vast considering that Disney holds the highest-grossing franchise of all time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the long-running franchise of Star Wars.

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Avatar 2's budget is huge, with a reported 250 million being allocated to each of the four sequels for a combined $1 billion dollar budget.

Avatar 2 is set to have its theatrical release on December 16, 2022, with the rest of the sequel to be released on December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026, and December 22, 2028, respectively. There is still no confirmation yet whether it will be streaming on the same date.

Related: Avatar 2 Set Photo Hints at Kate Winslet's Mysterious Winged Character