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James Cameron Wants Avatar’s Rerelease to Feel Theatrical

Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in James Cameron's Avatar.

Image: Disney

Next weekend, James Cameron’s 2009 science fantasy epic Avatar will be returning to theaters. As easy as it’s been in the years since to snark about the lack of memorable characters or even much of a plot that film contained, there’s no denying the impact that it had back in the day. With The Way of Water set to finally debut in three months—at least, we think so—it’s the perfect time for audiences to be reintroduced to the world of Pandora, if they were even able to see the movie back then.

Talking to the New York Times, the director admitted to being “pleasantly surprised” at how much the film holds up after watching the remastered version recently. But he’s more interested in seeing how the film lands for those who either weren’t alive back in 2009, or for those who’ve only seen it via streaming and cable. “Even though they think they may have seen the film, they really haven’t seen it,” said Cameron of younger audiences. He used his own kids as an example of this, saying that they understood the film better now that they had the opportunity to see it on the big screen.

Discussions about what makes a film worth seeing in theaters—aka, a “movie-ass movie”—have become more pronounced in the age of streaming, not to mention the pandemic. Cameron is positive that the rerelease of his film will be one such film, especially as there continues to be a rise of seeing movies in the theater (for those who feel safe/able to do so, of course). To him, there’s been a “dearth of top titles” to not really warrant going to the cinemas as of late—which isn’t true, as The Woman King and Barbarian are both in theaters right now—s he’s pretty confident that his film will get butts in seats during this supposed dead zone of films. “People are craving that…This is the type of film that you have to see in a theater.”

Avatar will return to theaters on September 23, and The Way of Water will release in theaters on December 16.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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