Connect with us


James Cameron Convenes ‘Avatar 2’ Fans for Unfiltered Feedback: “We’re Not Looking for Praise”



Days before James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water splashed its way past his 1997 film, Titanic, on the global box office charts to become the No. 3 movie of all time (not adjusted for inflation), the filmmaker took a seat on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank to do something he said he’s never done.

Cameron joined longtime producing partner Jon Landau for an Avatar 2 screening filled with fans that had seen the film once or multiple times. (One man admitted to being a superfan who had seen the 3-hour and 12-minute film a whopping seven times.) The purpose of the Feb. 16 event — presented by 20th Century Studios and Fandango — was for the pair to field feedback directly from an audience that Cameron said will help shape the rest of the franchise.

“This is something we’ve never done, which is [ask], ‘How do we make the next film even better for the fans?’ Go talk to them, find out what’s on your mind,” Cameron said at the top of the event. Later, he made it clear he wasn’t looking for praise and pats on the back for his film, which is now nominated for four Academy Awards. “You guys can be totally honest with us, this is not just about telling us stuff we want to hear. It’s about telling us the stuff we … need to work on more.”

They took their time, too, as Cameron and Landau stood in front of the crowd for more than an hour with Cameron, decked out in all black including a leather jacket and boots, personally handing the microphone to audience members as they asked specific questions about plot points, shot selection, frame rates, character development, emotional reactions, moments that made them laugh and even if it looked too “video-gamey” in parts.

One of those in attendance was Jeff Napshin, owner of Star Track Tours, and he tells THR that he’s “never seen a director ask for this kind of audience feedback that he clearly took seriously.”

Napshin continued: “He also joked about some plot screw-ups that he had to deal with in the movie and how the movie plot constantly changed in editing as they tried to find what worked. I really believe this experience was unique and special, and as James Cameron said, let’s get together in two years and see if our ideas and feedback made the film.”

That’s what Cameron suggested in closing out the event by saying that he intends to keep track of everyone in the room so that they can regroup after the next installment comes out on Dec. 20, 2024. “I just want to assure you guys that you have made a measurable improvement to Avatar 3 and beyond with your effort here tonight.”

A version of this story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The News84Media magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Check the latest Hollywood news here.