James Cameron told studio exec begging him to shorten ‘Avatar’ to “get the fuck out”

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James Cameron has recalled telling a Fox studio executive to “get the fuck out of my office” after he begged him to shorten the original Avatar.

The director, who is promoting sequel Avatar: The Way Of Water, shared that after a screening of the 2009 original film, an unnamed Fox executive approached Cameron with a “stricken cancer-diagnosis expression” and begged him to shorten the 162-minute long film.

“I said something I’ve never said to anybody else in the business,” Cameron told GQ. He said he told him, “‘I think this movie is going to make all the fucking money. And when it does, it’s going to be too late for you to love the film. The time for you to love the movie is today. So I’m not asking you to say something that you don’t feel, but just know that I will always know that no matter how complimentary you are about the movie in the future when it makes all the money’ – and that’s what I said, in caps, ALL THE MONEY, not some of the money, all the fucking money.

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“I said, ‘You can’t come back to me and compliment the film or chum along and say, ‘Look what we did together.’ You won’t be able to do that.’ At that point, that particular studio executive flipped out and went bug shit on me. And I told him to get the fuck out of my office. And that’s where it was left.”

James Cameron CREDIT: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images for Absolut Elyx

Avatar went on to become the highest grossing movie in box office history. It was beaten by Avengers: Endgame in 2019, but reclaimed the top spot following Avatar’s re-release in China last year. The film has earned over £2.8billion at the global box office.

Cameron previously defended the three-hour runtime of upcoming sequel Avatar: The Way Of Water, comparing it to modern TV viewing habits.

“I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” Cameron told Empire. “I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonisingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a fucking break.

“I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row. Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: It’s ok to get up and go pee.”

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Avatar: The Way Of Water is scheduled to be released in cinemas on December 16.