James Cameron Chewed Out Fox Exec Who Begged Him to Shorten ‘Avatar’

“I told him to leave my office immediately. It was left there exactly.”

The highest-grossing movie of all time is James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which earned $2.92 billion worldwide.

However, many people were doubtful that it would even turn a profit in the months prior to its debut, including many Fox executives who served as Cameron’s “Avatar” home base.

In an interview with GQ Magazine to promote the eagerly anticipated “Avatar” sequel “The Way of Water,” director James Cameron revealed that during a pre-release screening of the first movie, a Fox executive begged him to cut the 162-minute movie. Cameron chose to withhold his name “because this is a really negative review.” The exec had a “sad cancer diagnosis expression,” according to the infamously short-tempered Cameron, who then yelled at him for questioning his plan.

According to Cameron, “I said something I’ve never uttered to anyone else in the profession.” “I predict that this film will be a financial success. And by the time it happens, it will be too late for you to fall in love with the movie. You have today to fall in love with the film. Therefore, I’m not asking you to say something that you don’t feel; know that I will always be aware of it, regardless of how kind you may be in the future when the movie is making all the money. And that’s exactly what I said—in capital letters—all the money, not just a portion of it.

You can’t praise the movie or go along with me and say, “Look what we did together,” Cameron continued. “You won’t be able to accomplish that,” she said. That specific studio boss lost it at that time and started acting badly toward me. And I told him to leave my office immediately. And that was the last place it was.

When “Avatar” actually made all the fucking money, Cameron ultimately proved the executive incorrect. The filmmaker of “The Way of Water,” which has been out for more than ten years, was given much more leeway than he had for “Titanic” and “Aliens.” Cameron defended the movie’s length in an interview with Total Film earlier this month, saying it was a family drama in the same style as HBO’s “The Sopranos.”


The intention, according to Cameron, is to convey a powerfully emotional story. “I would argue that the new movie places more of an emphasis on character, story, relationships, and emotion. Because there are more characters to take care of, the second movie is longer than the first one because we spend more time on relationships and feeling there. There is an additional story to serve.

Cameron addressed his reputation for having a violent temper elsewhere in the GQ interview; the report states that on numerous of his movie sets, crew workers have worn shirts that said, “You can’t fear me—I work for Jim Cameron.” Cameron claims he is conscious of it and making efforts to make improvements.

He told GQ, “I think there was a time early on where that reputation worked to my advantage. And it developed this Paul Bunyan-like, slightly oversized quality. Then, at a proper moment, I stopped and asked myself, “All right, why am I becoming so irritated, and what is that solving?” I’m not denying that occasionally I get angry. Everyone has the right to a lousy day, really. However, in the past, it might have happened every few weeks. It happens around twice a year now.