In a recent interview with The New York Times, James Cameron said that he shut down execs from 20th Century Fox when they attempted to challenge him over a critical scene in the new “Avatar.”
Cameron informed the executives of the studio that he had directed “Titanic,” and that as a result, he had basically paid for a significant piece of the 20th Century Fox studio lot. He rejected the company’s instructions to make the movie shorter and to edit the movie’s flying scenes.
“I think I felt, at the time, that we clashed over certain things,” Cameron said.
“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,” he added.
“And afterward, they thanked me,” Cameron added. “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.”
It was a wise decision on the part of the studio to take Cameron’s advice, given that “Avatar” grossed over $2 billion worldwide and is still the picture that holds the record for the biggest grossing film of all time at the global box office (accounting for inflation).
“It’s such an intense process when you’re editing a film and you have to fight for every frame that stays in,” Cameron added to The Times.
“I felt pretty good about the creative decisions that were made back then. We spent a lot of time and energy improving our process in the decade-plus since. But there’s certainly nothing cringeworthy. I can see tiny places where we’ve improved facial-performance work. But it doesn’t take you out. I think it’s still competitive with everything that’s out there these days.”
The much-anticipated sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water” will finally be released in cinemas on December 16, and “Avatar” will be shown in theaters again in IMAX and 3D on September 23.
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