Titanic director James Cameron says he is planning marathon six-hour movies for streaming platforms, with a ‘condensed, rollercoaster’ version for the cinema.
The Oscar-winning director is no stranger to epic film-making and is currently shooting parts four and five of the Avatar series, with the highly-anticipated second film set for release in December – 12 years after the first movie came out.
The 67-year-old Canadian said he was excited by the ‘chaos’ that streaming platforms like Netflix had brought to Hollywood.
He told Variety: ‘I’m not afraid. I like change. I’m a child of the ’60s. I like it when things are chaotic. I think what we can see is an expanded form of cinema. I want to do a movie that’s six hours long and two and a half hours long at the same time. Same movie.
‘You can stream it for six hours, or you can go and have a more condensed, roller coaster, immersive version of that experience in a movie theater. Same movie. Just, one’s the novel, and one’s the movie. Why not? Let’s just use these platforms in ways that haven’t been done before.’
James Cameron attends Red Carpet Green Dress at the Private Residence of Jonas Tahlin, CEO of Absolut Elyx on February 06, 2020 in Los Angeles, California
Cameron’s Avatar 2 is set for release later this year. He is planning on releasing films in the series every two years through 2028
The comments come amid a seismic change in the film industry which has been sped up by the pandemic as cinemas have been forced to close by lockdowns.
This has seen movies release directly onto streaming platforms – fast becoming the preferred mode of consumption for many film fans.
The roaring trade which Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple have done has given them the power to bankroll their own exclusive films for their customers.
Big hits for Netflix include Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated The Irishman and Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler.
Cameron is planning to release a new Avatar movie every two years starting this year, with Avatar 5 planned for 2028.
Fox, a traditional Hollywood studio, is financing the movies.
The first Avatar movie, released in 2009, became the highest-grossing film of all time surpassing Cameron’s previous record-holder, Titanic, released in 1997.
He described the mammoth task ahead, telling Variety: ‘I haven’t gotten out of it alive yet. ‘2’ is fully in the can. We have a working cut that we’re filling in the visual effects within. I feel pretty confident with that film. ‘3’ is still a bit shadowy. It’s way too long.
‘I haven’t really turned my energy into a disciplined cutting process on that yet. But I know I’ve got the performances. That’s the important thing. I’ve done all the capture. I’ve done most of the live action shooting. I still owe a little bit on some of the adult characters. We were more concerned with the kids aging out.’
Cameron said they needed to get the first two films made before his star actor Timothée Chalamet grew a beard.
The first Avatar movie, released in 2009, became the highest-grossing film of all time surpassing Cameron’s previous record-holder, Titanic, released in 1997
He added: ‘We mixed the schedules for ‘2’ and ‘3’ together, based on the types of scenes and the environments. I said, let’s just treat it like it’s a six-hour miniseries and we’re only going to go to Frankfurt once.
‘We’re going to shoot all the scenes from ‘2’ and ‘3’ at the same time. That was more or less the motif. Actor availability was an issue as well. Anything that had to be done with a specific actor, we did all the scenes for ‘2’ and ‘3’ together — and a little bit of ‘4.’
‘Because once again, I had to shoot the kids out. They’re allowed to age six years in the middle of the story on page 25 of movie ‘4.’ So I needed everything before then, and then everything after, we’ll do later.’