James Cameron Says You Don’t Have to See Avatar: The Way of Water in Theaters…But You Should

“You’re making a deal between yourself and a piece of art to give it your full attention. And you don’t when you’re at home,” James Cameron said.

James Cameron says audiences don’t necessarily have to see Avatar: The Way of Water in theaters—a decent home setup will suffice—but the director highly recommends buying a ticket to see the epic sequel on the big screen.

Speaking with NPR about taking audiences on a “new journey” with the long-awaited aquatic sequel to 2009’s AvatarCameron says that fully enjoying a film goes far beyond where fans actually watch it—there’s just too many distractions on the small screen.

“If you watch Way of Water at home on a reasonably large flat screen TV with a decent sound system and you sit close enough and that way across the room, you’re going to have a good experience,” the director shared.


“I think when you start looking at something on a phone, you’re sort of missing the point. Going to a movie theater is less about the size of the screen and the perfection of the sound system. It’s more about a decision to not multitask.”

Cameron added that the ability to avoid distractions is key when it comes to an immersive movie experience, and likened watching a movie to “making a deal between yourself and a piece of art.”

“I think that’s the critical part that people are missing. You’re making a deal between yourself and a piece of art to give it your full attention. And you don’t when you’re at home. People don’t cry as much when they watch a movie at home as they will in a movie theater. You don’t have the depth of emotion.”

Related: James Cameron on Golden Globes Red Carpet: ‘Enough with the Streaming Already’

Cameron Says Way of Water is (Finally) Getting Fans Back in Theaters: ‘I’m Tired of Sitting on My A**’

James Cameron Movies including Avatar, Titanic, and Terminator
TriStar Pictures / 20th Century Studios

This isn’t the first time Cameron has called for fans of the sci-fi adventure franchise to get into theater seats to see Avatar: The Way of Water.

On the 2023 Golden Globes red carpet, the director expressed frustration with the continued streaming popularity following the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that the film’s shocking success shows audiences are ready to get back to in-person experiences.

“We’re back to theaters, around the world, people are going back to theaters. Even going to theaters in China where they’re having this huge COVID surge,” Cameron said.

“It’s like we’re saying, as a society, we need this. We need to go to movie theaters and have that experience. Enough with the streaming already! I’m tired of sitting on my a**.”

Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters now, but if you’re not ready to brave the movies just yet, you can still experience the original Avatar on Disney+…just make sure to put away your phone.

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