James Cameron Held An Avatar: The Way Of Water Screening With Fans To Get Feedback Before Avatar 3

Lo'ak sits on top of a hidden Payakan in Avatar The Way of Water
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

I think most would agree with the notion that James Cameron is one of the greatest filmmakers to ever enter the world of cinema. During the past 40 years, he’s delivered a plethora of impressive cinematic endeavors, from The Terminator and Aliens to The Abyss and Titanic. In recent years though, he’s been engulfed in the Avatar franchise and marked the release of the box office behemoth that is The Way of Water at the end of 2022. Though the film has seen great success, it seems that Cameron isn’t above getting assistance from the public while forging ahead with the other planned films. As it turns out, he held a screening for TWoW in order to get feedback on the upcoming threequel. 

James Cameron held the showing of Avatar: The Way of Water shortly before it solidified itself as the third highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide back in February. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron and fellow producer Jon Landau engaged with the audience during the screening, which was reportedly held at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank. As the trade points out, Cameron and Landau took the time to take questions about the movie in the hopes of getting insight into how they should proceed with the next three movies. The 68-year-old director was apparently very honest with the crowd about why he invited them: 

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. … 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.

On one hand, it’s surprising that someone as accomplished as the True Lies director would need to hold such an event. But if you look at it from another perspective, it makes complete sense, as the detail-oriented filmmaker always aims to please audiences. He apparently didn’t mind getting into the weeds while talking shop with viewers, either. Star Track Tours owner Jeff Napshin, who was in attendance, spoke with THR about his experience, and he says the Oscar winner didn’t mind talking about everything.This even included the challenges that came with making the Avatar sequel: 

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.

Few details have been revealed about the next chapter in the science fiction saga, though James Cameron has spilled a few minor details. He’s mainly excited to talk about the new species of Na’vi that will appear in the upcoming threequel. One such group is the villainous Ash People, whose leader will be played by Game of Thrones vet Oona Chaplin. Cameron also teased desert people and individuals belonging to other “biodomes” as being part of the movie. Of course, Jake Sully and his family will remain at the center of the story.

We still have some time before our next trip to Pandora, so we can only speculate on how the movie will pan out. Though one would think that the Canadian director and his colleague got some great insight, especially since they already got the names of the viewers and want to reconvene for an Avatar 3 showing down the road. Their thoughts apparently “made a measurable improvement” to the new movie, and one can only hope that the critiques all help in the long run.

Avatar 3 is set to open in theaters on December 20, 2024. In the meantime, you can still see The Way of Water and stream the first movie using a Disney+ subscription. Those looking for info on films hitting the big screen this year can also check out CinemaBlend’s schedule of 2023 new movie releases.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.