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Avatar: James Cameron didn’t let the studio remove a scene just because it didn’t add anything to the plot

One thing we have always known is that studios in general will not hesitate to interfere with films if they feel that the final product does not convince them at all. That is something that has always happened and that is because at the end of the day they are products in which they have invested a large amount of money and what they want is to see that the final producer is a film that does well at the box office. This is especially true of high-budget movies that are projected to make staggering dollars in movie theaters around the world. Now we know that this happens even to directors who have done well before. That is the case with James Cameron.

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James Cameron joined Masterclass and gave a three hour and 20 minute course. / Film (via IndieWire) has been collecting the best moments. One quite striking is that the director revealed that the studio wanted to cut one of the most iconic scenes from Avatar – 83%. We’re talking about when Jake Sully is learning to ride a Mountain Banshee and flies on it. Narratively speaking, the scene does not add anything to the plot and that is why the studio wanted to eliminate it. The point is that in a movie there are visual scenes that are made to be enjoyed and not just to advance the story. The director didn’t want to cut the scene because it was something he wanted to see on film and, in his opinion, that’s the most important thing:

There are a lot of rules and advice on why to put things in your movies and that they should have a function. Except, not necessarily. Sometimes it’s just something that you as a filmmaker want … and sometimes the only way to see something is to show it.

As reported by / Film, that sequence stayed precisely because the director wanted to see it on film:

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The flight sequence spans a large amount of time and Cameron said someone asked him to cut it because he felt it didn’t add anything to the plot. But Cameron countered that he didn’t care; that he wanted to see her and stayed on tape.

In his words:

If I wanted to see it, there are many other people who would also want to see it. And they want to see it for itself, not because it fulfills a function. The function is to be present; be part of that world.

Remember that for a long time that tape was the highest grossing in history. Therefore, the director was right on that matter. At this point it is not something that can be doubted. But it is interesting to think that although Titanic – 88% also had that honor, that did not prevent the study from considering that they could get their hands on this director’s tape. It is very likely that he did manage to get away with it is because he is who he is and shows consistent results throughout his career.

On the other hand, a few months ago James Cameron revealed that he had to threaten the writers of the sequels with firing them because, instead of concentrating on telling the story of Jake and Neytiri, they were suggesting new ideas that were unrelated to the story of the first film:

When I sat down to write the sequels, I knew there were going to be three and eventually four became. I put together a group of writers and said ‘I don’t want to hear anybody’s new ideas until you’ve figured out what worked in the first movie, what connected, and why it worked.’ They kept talking about new stories. Eventually I had to threaten to fire them all because they were doing what writers do, which is making new stories. I told them ‘we have to understand what the connection is and protect it, protect that flame.’

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