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Why James Cameron isn't worried about 'Avatar: The Way of Water' flopping

The legendary filmmaker trusts his own taste, in more ways than one.

By Matthew Jackson
James Cameron

In a little more than a week, Avatar: The Way of Water will finally premiere for general audiences, ending a 13-year wait for the next chapter in writer/director James Cameron's Pandora saga and potentially launching yet another blockbuster box office haul for the man behind TitanicAvatar, and Terminator 2. As we approach The Way of Water's arrival, there are still a lot of questions lingering about the film, including how well it will fare with moviegoers when compared to the original Avatar's massive ticket sales. 

But James Cameron himself isn't worried, because he's very aware of the kind of movie he just made.

“I don’t worry about it. I don’t think anything one does artistically in life should be determined by the trolls and the naysayers," Cameron told Variety this week. "You just go where you think it makes sense.”

Where it made sense for Cameron, this time around, was the oceans of Pandora, from which The Way of Water derives its name. A lifelong lover of ocean exploration, Cameron immersed (literally and metaphorically) his cast and crew in the water to make the film, all the while designing an elaborate reef ecosystem for Pandora that became just as fascinating for him as the characters. 

“I could have made a whole movie, a 3-hour movie, that was just about the reef,” he said. “I had to kind of pull way back and say, ‘Alright, we’ve got a story to tell about people, about family, about conflict, about conservation, obviously.’”

Now, the world is ready to see Cameron's work once again, and everyone's wondering what kind of impact The Way of Water will have on the filmmaker's lofty plans for the future of the franchise, which could include as many as five more sequels if things go well. Though Cameron's already explored contingency plans just in case The Way of Water doesn't hit with audiences like the first Avatar, he also explained in greater detail why he's not worried about success or failure at this point.

“And you make it, in a sense, for yourself,” he said. “But my tastes are so kind of blue collar and general. They’re not esoteric, my personal tastes. If I like my movie, I know other people are gonna like my movie. It’s very simplistic, really, ultimately.”

Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters Dec. 16. 

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