Internationally speaking, Avatar earned more at the box office than Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which still, somehow, made half-a-million bucks last week), but even James Cameron knows it would be too foolish to mess with Rey and BB-8. That’s why the director told Famous Monsters of Filmland that he doesn’t want Avatar 2, which was originally set to open the same month as Episode VIII (December 2017), but has since been pushed back to December 2018, to go “head-to-head with Star Wars. That would be stupid.”
Cameron also explained that he’s shooting the four sequels as “one big production… the way you would shoot a miniseries.” So, in the morning, he’ll film a scene from Avatar III: My Na’vi Will Go On where Neytiri rides some horse thing, and at night, Cameron will work on a climatic battle from Avatar IV: The Blue Bloodening where Jake fights a Terminator, or whatever.
“It’s going to be probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m sure the actors will be challenged by that as well. It’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, this person hasn’t died yet, so you’re still in this phase of your life.’ It’s a saga. It’s like doing all three Godfather films at the same time.” (Via)
But Francis Ford Coppola didn’t make all three Godfather movies at the same, and we still got The Godfather: Part III. Cameron has enough clout (he directed the two highest grossing movies ever, and still found time to offer to clean up an oil spill with his money) that he can do whatever he wants — nothing’s making him shoot four films at once. Nothing except his ambition. Or ego.
It’s a fine line.