Next ‘Avatar’ Film Triples Down on Runtime, Rumored to Be Released on Disney+

in Disney, Movies & TV

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his son in Avatar: The Way of Water

Credit: 20th Century Studios

Disney has found massive success with their Avatar films. Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom opened Pandora: The World of Avatar in 2017 and Disneyland recently announced plans to bring a similar experience to California.

A feat of CGI technology, the first Avatar (2009) still holds the title for the highest-grossing movie of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. The 2022 sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is currently the third-highest-grossing film. Both films have a hefty runtime, with the first running over two and a half hours, and the sequel hitting over three. The third installment in the Avatar franchise is already in development and is rumored to triple the runtime of the first two films.

Director James Cameron has hinted at the epic proportions the next film will bring, indicating that new Na’vi tribes and characters will be introduced and Pandora will be explored to even greater detail than before. The latest rumor about the project is that it will have a nine-hour director’s cut runtime. While the theatrical version is likely to be much shorter, similar to the three hours of the first two installments, the film will be released to Disney+ a limited series.

Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022). Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

Hollywood insider Jeff Sneider has claimed that Cameron has a plan for the massive-length film, wanting to complete visual effects for the entire runtime. While the effort wouldn’t make sense only to be cut down to a three-hour theatrical version, releasing the entire nine hours as a limited series run would allow Cameron to tell the entire story he’s planned out and give audiences triple the content.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022). Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

Disney+ has created a slew of original series for the streaming platform, mostly focused on the MCU and Star Warsseeing primarily positive responses from fans. It would be a smart move for Disney to continue to incorporate this tactic by offering a more-detailed version of a film they would be familiar with. The third film is scheduled for a December 2024 release, with a fourth film scheduled for 2026 and a fifth for 2028.

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