A few years ago, no one would’ve imagined that James Cameron’s Avatar would be dethroned from its top spot as the highest grossing film of all time. Nearly ten years after the hit science-fiction film’s release, Avengers Endgame surpassed Avatar with 2.79 billion dollars worldwide at the box office. Some would expect director James Cameron to be envious of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s success. On the contrary however, James Cameron had a much different response to Endgame‘s success.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Cameron expressed that Endgame topping the box office actually gave him hope for the future of movie theaters. When discussing his upcoming Avatar sequels, Cameron feared that the market for going to the theater has shifted, to a point where people are less excited to visit a theater than watch a movie. It makes sense considering the huge amount of focus studios have put on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney’s very own Disney+.
Therefore seeing a film still generate a ton of revenue during its theatrical running is so reassuring for Cameron. He claimed, “I’m happy to see it, as opposed to an alternate scenario where, with the rapid availability, custom-designed experience that everybody can create for themselves with streaming services and all the different platforms, that [theatrical potential] might not have existed anymore.”
Cameron did admit that he’s unsure if Avatar 2 and 3 will become as massive as the MCU, but Endgame’s success still reassures Cameron that it is possible. This is also not to say that Cameron opposes of streaming entirely as he discussed the appeal and benefit of streaming services in this day in age. However, Cameron did express excitement for the cinematic experience due to how vastly more engaging it is than streaming a movie. He described the movie going experience as “subsuming experience where you turn off your phone and you engage. You as an audience member engage for two hours or two and a half hours, whatever it is. And that still exists!” This success gives some hope for future filmmakers like Cameron to have audiences to engage with their film on a big screen, and he would not have it any other way.