James Cameron erupted into a fiery rage at the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest premiere when he realized that not only had some fat New Zealander beaten him to the trilogy punch, so had the guy who made fucking Mousehunt. Before he could be tranquilized by riot gear adorned Mousketeers (not really – please don’t sue me, Jimmy. Or make me spend time in that Abyss tank), Cameron announced that he would show these upstarts by making not one trilogy, but two.
"I have two franchises, if you will, or films that play out over an arc of a number of films that I am going to be making,” Cameron frothed. “[I won’t make them] back-to-back, but one after another. They, in turn, might spawn back-to-back sequels. It all depends on how the first one does."
He’s counting on the first ones to do well, though. The two franchises he’s talking about are “Project 880” (roared the enraged Cameron: “[W]e’ll probably release it as ‘Avatar‘. We haven’t locked in on the title yet, but this is what we are calling it.”) and Battle Angel Alita. Cameron’s heavy in pre-production on 880/Avatar right now.
"’Battle Angel’ is actually designed as a three-film cycle. So the logic there is to make one and, if it hits, boom-boom on the other two,” he said.
But Cameron thinks he knows the trilogy business better than Gore Verbinski or Peter Jackson, despite the fact that they’ve been making the biggest grossing movies while Cameron’s been making his bathtub submarine fantasies come true for IMAX – none of Cameron’s films will have cliffhangers. "The films have to play as individual films, but they have a greater story arc that goes over the three-film cycle, I think that’s how it works the best. I don’t think you want to just run people off the cliff after the second film." As opposed to the people who wanted to run off the cliff after watching Cameron’s failed TV series Dark Angel.