3D films have been around for decades, with the first broad use of the idea beginning in the 1950s. However, the format would see a rise in popularity throughout the 2000s, peaking in 2009 with James Cameron’s Avatar. The film, set on the alien world of Pandora, was built around 3D, using the format as an enhancer to the movie instead of a gimmick on the side. However, after Avatar finished its box office run, resulting in the highest-grossing film of all time, 3D began to decrease in popularity once again.
Cameron’s upcoming sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, will undoubtedly feature the use of 3D technology in new and improved ways, and the acclaimed filmmaker is hoping people will give the format a chance. Cameron recently sat down with /Film ahead of the Avatar re-release and discussed 3D and how it’s been regularly implemented into the theater.
“3D appears to most people to sort of be ‘over.’ But it’s really not over. It’s just been accepted. It’s just now a part of your choices when you go to the theater to see a big blockbuster movie … I liken it to color. When color films first came out, it was a big deal. People would go to see movies because they were in color. I think around the time of ‘Avatar,’ people used to go to see movies because they were in 3D … I think it had an impact on how films were presented that’s now just sort of accepted and part of the zeitgeist and how it’s done.”
Of course, Cameron is mostly correct, as nearly every blockbuster movie that arrives in theaters is offered in 3D. It may not be the most popular choice, but it’s there for anyone to choose nonetheless. In addition, the director may make his next film mandatory 3D viewing, as Avatar: The Way of Water could be mesmerizing as it pops out of the screen.
Avatar: The Way of Water is Nearly Here
Despite your thoughts on Avatar, the 2009 film is an iconic piece of history. The movie currently holds the top spot in the record books for the highest box office revenue (through several re-releases in competition with Avengers: Endgame), and it’s one of the most beautiful films ever to reach the big screen.
James Cameron has a lot of pressure riding on The Way of Water, as the film’s budget is estimated to be in the $250 million range. Of course, Avatar far surpassed that number with $2.8 billion; however, is there still a need for future installments? Cameron hopes so, as the franchise is set to see five films total before the Avatar story is complete.
Avatar: The Way of Water stars Sam Worthington alongside Michelle Yeoh, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver, Oona Chaplin, Stephen Lang, and Giovanni Ribisi. The upcoming sequel is set for release later this year, 13 years after the original, on Dec. 16.