James Cameron Justified The Three Hour Runtime For ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ By Claiming That It’s Like ‘The Sopranos’

When Avatar: The Way of Water finally splashes into theaters, the heavily-anticipated sequel will be packing a serious long runtime. Clocking in at a whopping three hours and 10 minutes, The Way of Water is nearly as long as Titanic. It misses the cut by a scant four minutes. Granted, the first Avatar was considered a lengthy film at two hours and 41 minutes, but that’s almost par for the course in today’s modern age of mammoth superhero films.

In a new interview, writer/director James Cameron justified ballooning the runtime for the sequel that’s been 13 years in the making. “We didn’t spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it’s a longer film, because there’s more characters to service,” Cameron told Total Film. “There’s more story to service.”

The iconic director then made a comparison that only James Cameron would dare to make:

Above all, however, The Way Of Water is a family story. This is because, 14 years after falling in love, Jake and Neytiri are now the proud parents of five children. “People say, ‘Oh my God, a family story from Disney? Just what we want…’ This isn’t that kind of family story,” Cameron clarifies. “This is a family story like how The Sopranos is a family story.”

While Cameron seems full of his usual bombast by comparing The Way of Water to one of the greatest TV shows of all time, the writer/director has been noticeably hedging his bets about the sequel’s box office potential. He recently revealed that he’s prepared to pull the plug and end the series with Avatar 3 if The Way of Water underperforms.

While citing that we’re in a “different world” thanks to streaming and the pandemic, Cameron is not immune to having doubts about audiences flocking to a new Avatar movie after so long.

“Maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theatre is all about. This film definitely does that,” Cameron mused to Total Film. “The question is: how many people give a sh*t now?”

(Via Total Film)