How Long Did It Take to Film Avatar?

Do you know how long did it take to film Avatar? Well… Let me know you the straight answer. The film Avatar took about 10 years to make!

After watching this movie, you cannot help but wonder why James Cameron took so long to make it.

Firstly, I am going to provide some basic information about this film. Secondly, I will explain the causes of production delay. Finally, I will try to apprise some unknown facts about Avatar. Let’s get started.

Basic Information

  1. Avatar is an epic science fiction genre film directed by renowned director James Cameron. It is one of the masterpieces of Cameron which premiered in London on December 10, 2009 and released in the United States on December 18, 2009.
  2. The two lead characters are played by Sam Worthington as Jake and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri.
  3. For 10 long years from 2009 to 2019, Avatar has ruled the box office as the highest grossing movie in the world. The film grossed about $2.79 billion. The approximate budget of the film was $237 million.
  4. Principal photography for Avatar began in April 2007 in Los Angeles and Wellington.
  5. Avatar won the 82nd Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects and nominated for a total of nine, including Best Picture and Best Director. It also won the 67th Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture. At the 36th Saturn Awards, Avatar won all total ten awards. The film has received numerous other major awards, nominations and honors.

Causes behind Production Delay

  1. After James Cameron’s Terminator 2, the director thought of making Avatar. In 1994, Cameron wrote a 80-pages screenplay for the film. But due to lack of advance technology, he had to stop planning the production.
  2. James Cameron thought of releasing the movie Avatar in 1999. But, not a single production house wanted to carry such a sophisticated CGI effect technology and such a huge budget film. As a result, he postponed the release of Avatar.
  3. After watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), he realized that the technology is now ready to give the CGI effect of Avatar. Cameron’s wait came to an end in 2005. Virtual cameras and other devices with 3D technology were within reach. Cameron’s dream film Avatar completed in mid-2009.
  4. Avatar was the first 3D movie. It took about 47 hours only to prepare set up for a few CGI scenes. Consequently, it took long time to film the movie.
  5. However, the lengthy period of filming this movie had another reason. Cameron used enhanced Motion Capture Animation and created something like a game engine, and in real-time could see his character’s motions recorded, on the digital world created in the background. These additional works took extra time to accomplish.

Unknown Facts about Avatar

  1. Director James Cameron first got the idea for making Avatar after watching the Disney animated film Pocahontas. Although the plot of the movie is somehow similar to Dr. Seuss’ book The Lorax. Whether it was a coincidence or not is still unknown.
  2. 20th Century Fox didn’t want to agree to produce the movie at first because of the big budget. James Cameron was so confident about Avatar that he told Fox Studios that he would not take his direction fee if the movie flops.
  3. Famous actors like Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal were the first preference for the role of Jack Sully. But, Cameron wanted an unpopular actor and so he offered Sam Worthington to play that role. At that time, Sam was struggling so much with his life that he lived in his own car.
  4. The Na’vi language used by the aliens is a real language with a thousand words, invented by the linguist Paul Farmer for Avatar. Moreover, most of the animal words used in the movie recycled from the animal words used in Jurassic Park.
  5. The music composer worked for a year and a half from 4 am to 10 pm just behind the music of this movie.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, the hard work of whole film unit of Avatar was justified by the end product. The movie received huge acclamation. Consequently, it received 87 awards in total including 3 Oscars and 129 nominations. It is currently the second highest grossing film.

Avatar is one of the favorite films for all ages people. Because, the screenplay, storytelling style, creativity and CGI effect of this film is unique in one word. So, this film is in favorite movie list of movie lovers of any age including teenagers and adults.