Cameron Talks “Avatar” Sequels, “Abyss” Blu

Out talking up the 30th anniversary DVD/Blu-ray release of “Aliens” at Comic-Con on Saturday, filmmaker James Cameron spoke with Variety about his other upcoming projects and finally discussed the long awaited release of one of his old films.

First up, Cameron explained his decision to do three sequels to 2009’s “Avatar”. Seems it’s matter of conveying the proper scope of the story:

“The ‘Avatar’ story arc was originally meant to be a trilogy, but I overwrite, and my writers overwrote as well. Basically the first of the sequels cloned itself and became two films, so now it’s four films. And the studio’s very happy with it. They have an opportunity to make more money, but it’s also an opportunity to spend a lot more money, too, so there’s a clench factor.”

The hope is he can drop the films a year apart, but he’s presently unsure if that will be possible. Cameron also shot down the possibility of an “Avatar” TV series saying it would be prohibitively expensive and the only way it could be done is with stylised animation:

“You could with animation. If you found a style of animation with it that Lucas did with the ‘Clone Wars’ animated series, then you could do it. But to maintain the production value – it’s not like just getting good actors. ‘The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ they got some good actors and they did some scaled-down production value. But you can’t do scaled-down production value for ‘Avatar.’ One minute of an ‘Avatar’ close-up of Jake or Neytiri or any of the other characters is like a million-plus dollars, even if there’s nothing happening in the shot. So do the math. It just doesn’t work for television.”

Then there’s “The Abyss,” Cameron’s 1989 sci-fi drama which had a problematic theatrical cut and a much acclaimed special edition. One of the top titles on VHS, the film has only ever had a disc release on DVD back in the early dates of the format – and even then only in terrible quality.

Fans have long been clamoring for a Blu-ray release and Cameron has good news – the disc should be coming out early next year. On top of that, it’s getting a very high quality remastering process – making it ready for a 4K/HDR release as well: “We’ve done a wet-gate 4K scan of the original negative, and it’s going to look insanely good. We’re going to do an authoring pass in the DI for Blu-ray and HDR at the same time.”