The flying scenes in “Avatar” weren’t the only thing that James Cameron and 20th Century Fox had differences. Months before the 2009 blockbuster would debut in theatres and shatter box office records, the director admitted in a new GQ interview that he swore at a Fox official who begged him to cut “Avatar” short.
Avatar is 162 minutes long. Following a pre-release screening of the movie, Cameron says that the executive allegedly approached him, wearing a “stricken cancer-diagnosis expression.” He pleaded for a shorter running time and was told by Cameron that he would “go unnamed because this is a really negative review.”
The director revealed what he told the executive at the time:
“I think this movie is going to make all the fucking money. I said something I’ve never stated to anybody else in the business. And by the time it happens, it will be too late for you to fall in love with the movie. You have today to fall in love with the movie. I’m not asking you to say something against your feelings, but just be aware that I will always be aware of it, regardless of how nice you are of the movie when it finally succeeds financially.”
The intention, according to Cameron, is to convey a powerfully emotional story.
“I would argue that the new movie places more of an emphasis on character, story, relationships, and emotion. Because there are more characters to take care of, the second movie is longer than the first one because we spend more time on relationships and emotions there. There is an additional story to serve.”