James Cameron directed, wrote, produced, and co-edited Avatar, a 2009 American epic science fiction movie starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Sigourney Weaver. In the mid-twentieth century, mankind colonizes Pandora, a lush livable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system, to extract the valuable mineral unobtanium.
The mining colony’s expansion puts a local tribe of Navi – a humanoid race native to Pandora – in jeopardy of extinction. Cameron began working on Avatar in 1994 when he wrote an 80-page treatment for the film. In 2005, work on the Navi language began, and in early 2006, Cameron began writing the screenplay and fictional universe.
The official budget for Avatar was $237 million. Other estimates put the production cost between $280 million and $310 million, including a $150 million promotion budget. The film makes considerable use of innovative motion capture filmmaking techniques, and it was released in select South Korean theatres for traditional viewing, 3D viewing, and “4D” experiences.
For nearly a decade, Avatar was the highest-grossing film on the planet, until Avengers: Endgame surpassed it in 2019. With a total of more than $3 billion, Avatar is the second highest-grossing film of all time, after only Gone with the Wind.
Following the success of the film, Cameron struck a deal with 20th Century Fox to make four sequels: Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 are set to be released on December 16, 2022, and December 20, 2024, respectively.