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Four Better Ways to Spend Avatar's Billion Dollar Budget

By Ilich Mejia

Avatar 2 just began production after it was announced that the saga's four upcoming sequels (filming back-to-back) will have an alleged combined budget of $1 billion. For those of you too pretty to be bothered by mental math, that's an estimated $250 million per sequel. Very good news for the realtor finalizing the purchase of Sigourney Weaver's next vacation home; less good for our over-stuffed "sequels no one needs" file.

To be fair, $250 million doesn't come close to matching the fourth installment no one wanted of the Pirates of the Caribbean series' ($370 million budget), but it is still two handfuls of zeroes (if—for whatever reason—you are missing a pinky) for movies that will come out in the next eight years. 

In an effort that could willingly be misinterpreted as a cry against the threat of capitalism, we have come up with four more pressing ways to spend someone else's money. Come disagree!

01. $250 MILLION for the Crazy Rich Asians press tour + sequels
Anyone who has read the novel (or its crazy brief synopsis) knows anything devoted to it calls for opulence and money. A lot of it! The film adaptation wrapped production back in June, but it will still need dough for promotion and other making-Constance-Wu-a-star purposes. We don't know if the film is any good yet, but we know even less about Avatar 4, so let's take our chances. The novel and its two follow-ups indulge in the extravagant lives of its characters. Why not invest in securing a sequel and going all out on exclusive costumes, lavish sets, and that Lucy Liu cameo the first movie won't give us? Then, repeat! Until the money runs out, or until Hollywood tries to throw in a white protagonist.

02. $250 MILLION to support female directors
Especially female directors of color that could use the support to kickstart their careers. It is difficult to see high caliber projects headlined by female actresses—like Big Little Lies and Jackie—written and directed almost exclusively by men. Kudos to Jessica Chastain and Reese Witherspoon for championing budding female directors, but there is still quite a ways to go. Last year, Ava DuVernay became the first female director of color to helm a film with a budget over $100 million (Disney's A Wrinkle in Time). More of that! Also, this is a gentle reminder that Jane Campion's adaptation of The Flamethrowers is something that can't come soon enough. 

03. $250 MILLION to help Blossom Films make movies
Remember when The Danish Girl almost starred Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron under Blossom Films, but then it all fell through because of money problems and seven years later Alicia Vikander won an Oscar for the wrong movie?

Money is no longer a problem because we took it from James Cameron!

So, we've decided to give a little to Kidman's production company, Blossom Films, so it can fund all of its pending projects and avoid butterfly effect-ing future Oscar races. As of now, Blossom has the rights to How to Marry a Millionaire (should they want to remake it), Gone Girl lite The Silent Wife, the novel Reconstructing Amealia, vampire play Cuddles, and a Michael Cunningham-penned Dusty Springfield project. If they don't act fast, these rights will expire and Tom Hopper will zoom in on all of this promise. Silent Wife went as far as attracting Adrian Lyne out of retirement, but they can't produce the movie without the money! 

04. $250 MILLION for whatever Harvey Weinstein tried to do with Gretchen Mol
Except not. Now that Constance Wu is a star thanks to Avatar's altruistic line producers, we need to invest in getting Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gina Rodríguez, Paulina García, and Lupita friggin N'yongo star vehicles and the right push. We are taking matters into our own hands, here at TFE: picking up Hollywood's slack, $250 mill at a time. 

 How would you spend Avatar's billion-dollar budget? Break it down for us.

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Reader Comments (15)

Ugh so much you could do with it.

A film adaptation of SUNDAY IN THE PARK directed by Steve McQueen and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Gugu Mbatha-Raw would be on the list.

Plus plenty of money towards Barry Jenkins, Lynne Ramsay, Charlie Kaufman, Ava DuVernay, Julie Dash and a bit towards filming more theatre!!

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I'm a defender of AVATAR, but James Cameron's attitude lately is simply not helping. And that they're touting the new kid cast for the sequels has me concerned that he's going in a direction that's just kid-centric.

However, all of your alternatives are on point! I'm simply psyched for CRAZY RICH ASIANS

September 30, 2017 | Registered CommenterChris Feil

YES TO ALL OF THIS. Also, give me some of the money. even 1/250 of it would be enough.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

OMG yes to all of this. But I would split the money in many possibilities.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterV.

Or we could get four movies from one of the greatest directors of all time and certainly one of the greatest blockbuster (and sequel) makers ever. Who also always gave us strong female character. As a mater of fact he was a key player in creating the greatest (who also happens to be a female) characters of all time.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKokolo

They could $2,50 monthly to support the film experience website

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBoyPiranha

How about we save some of it for re-construction after all those floods and earthquakes we've been having lately? I'm as much a film lover as everyone here, but I think there are more important things to spend millions of dollars on these days...

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Boy Piranha -- haha i like the way you think. haha. I'd be happy to work with just a .01% share of that budget.

Kokolo - I am also a huge Cameron fan for the reasons you cite but he is bringing this trouble on himself with the way he talks about other people's movies and his insistence that his time is best spent trying to relive his glory days rather than creating something new (Terminator AGAIN? Four more Avatars?) I mean if you're going to repeat yourself why not another TITANIC style costume drama epic or some experiment like THE ABYSS or... you know?

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I agree with everything you have said.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt St.Clair

That's easy. $250 million for films by top women directors like Ava Duvernay, Sofia Coppola, Lynne Ramsay, Nicole Holofcener, Patty Jenkins, Lucrecia Martel, Andrea Arnold, and others.

$250 million for anything Guillermo del Toro wants to do.

$250 million for Alejandro Jodorowsky and whatever he wants to make.

$250 million for film restoration.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I cannot like this post enough. Yes to all your ideas.

Also, ugh, *four* Avatar sequels? The original had its strengths, but that story did not need any sequel, let alone four.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

"Avatar" was good film but four sequels seriously the plot was Pocahontas in Outer Space?!

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Here's a crazy idea, you could actually donate that money to Puerto Rico.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterConMan

Yes to making Constance Wu a star. She's so great on 'Fresh off the Boat', completely charming, and has already gone to bat for many social justice issues.

September 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Hmm...a few ideas off the top of my head:

-finance a lavish 8-part miniseries event based off the life of Catherine the Great, played at each stage by a different actress, maybe with a different director and different feel to it? Maybe do a marvel universe thing and bring on someone genius to uber-manage so they don't stray too far. Saorise Ronan as the young German princess, Glenn Close as the enlightened reformer at a crossroads. I think Catherine's life is one of the most interesting stories, and just think of the costumes and sets!

-Just because it was in the news lately and on my mind, have a proper Hocus Pocus soundtrack made with a full listing of jazzy numbers along the lines of I Put a Spell On You with featuring the original actresses.

-Fund a lifetime achievement Oscar campaign for Tim Curry?

I'm sure I haven't spent the entire billion yet, but that's what I'm thinking so far. What a fun post idea!

October 1, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHans

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