Avatar producer Jon Landau has revealed that there could be up to four sequels of the ground-breaking movie, as he made a plea for film-makers to choose subjects that make a difference to the world.
“Making movies is about more than entertainment," he told the One Young World 2016 Summit in Ottawa, Canada.
Emphasising the responsibility of the movie industry and its influence over cinema-goers, Mr Landau warned producers and scriptwriters to consider carefully their themes. “The power of good storytelling is not to be taken lightly. They can move the world in the wrong direction just as easily.”
Mr Landau led a session at the global young leaders forum on the subject of Social Consciousness and Cinematic Storytelling.
Speaking to an audience of 1300 global young leaders, Landau called for films to be more than just an amusing distraction, saying “movie themes need to resonate, get people moving and do something that matters to them and the world.”
The New York City-born filmmaker, produced the Oscar-nominated Avatar with James Cameron in 2009 and it went on to become the biggest-grossing film of all time. The same pairing also made the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, which was previously the most successful film at the box office and won 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture.
The theme of a movie, Landau told the One Young World audience, has a more lasting impact on the audience than the intricacies of a storyline. “Films need to have a theme bigger than their topic. The theme is what you leave the theatre with, the plot you leave at the venue,” he said.
But when the content was inspiring, he said, films could be as life-enhancing as "schoolbooks and vitamins".
Later in an interview with One Young World, Mr Landau said there were up to four sequels for Avatar in the pipeline. The much-anticipated Avatar 2 is expected to be released in 2018. But the producer said there could be an Avatar "3, 4...and 5".
He said that it was the "characters and themes" that were most critical to the appeal of the franchise, rather than the use of groundbreaking technologies.
"People think it's about the 3D or about the world, sure the world transports you somewhere but what takes you on the journey are the characters and themes of the movie," Landau said. "I think what resonated with people about Avatar are the...universal themes of awareness, of looking at people and not judging a book by its cover, or a person by their colour, and understanding that our actions have an impact on both people around us and the world around us."
He appealed to young people to act on their dreams. ""Go and act that plan," he said. "Too often times, people are afraid to take a step, take that step! Don't be afraid to fail."
The future, Landau said, "is going to be defined by those who dream. Have those dreams - but don't let those dreams become dormant."
The filmmaker, a One Young World counsellor, said he had a "fabulous" experience attending the Ottawa Summit and the previous One Young World Summit in Bangkok last year. "We live in a connected world and you connect it for us," he said.