James Cameron promises epic Avatar 2 runtime: “It’s okay to go pee”

Cameron Frew
Avatar/YouTube/20th Century Studios

The Avatar 2 runtime is set to be as long as you’d expect, but James Cameron says you shouldn’t worry about needing to pee – it’s The Way of Water, after all. 

It needs to be said: modern moviegoers love to complain about long films, and believe they don’t have the stamina or will to savor the likes of Lawrence of Arabia, Gone with the Wind, Doctor Zhivago, Seven Samurai, JFK, or other classics. It was one of the defining discourses around The Irishman and its 3h 29m runtime.

To be quite frank, they need a reality check. The Wolf of Wall Street is one of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s most beloved, memorable movies, and it’s three hours long. All of the Lord of the Rings movies are in the three-hour region. The Godfather is the best part of three hours, yet nobody ever moans.

And that’s before we get to the bloating of the superhero sub-genre: Avengers: Endgame earned its three-hour runtime; The Batman was a little indulgent, though still brilliant, at nearly three hours; and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, for better or worse, was four hours long. Yet, they’ll still cry out for shorter runtimes, and James Cameron will look down and whisper: “No.”

Jake Sully riding an animal in Avatar: The Way of Water, with the Avatar 2 runtime set to be a long one.
20th Century Studios
Avatar: The Way of Water is set to be one of the biggest films of 2022.

James Cameron doesn’t want “whining” over Avatar 2 runtime

In an interview with Empire Magazine, the director addressed The Way of Water’s runtime. While confirming it’ll be another long one, he didn’t give any specific details – but he did encourage people to pee during the film if they need to.

“Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: it’s okay to get up and go pee,” he said.

Bear in mind: the first Avatar remains the box office king of the world with a global gross of $2.847 billion – and it’s 2h 40m long. Sure, its critics love to point out how people barely remember any of the characters’ names, but do you ever hear people whinging about its runtime? No.

James Cameron compares Avatar 2 runtime to binge-watching

In 2016, Netflix changed the world’s streaming habits with Stranger Things. It heralded the era of the binge-watch, with people sitting stupefied in front of their TVs for hours on end, often digesting an entire season in a single day.

Cameron took aim at the binge-watchers among us – aka, all of us – who contradict their own viewing behaviors in their complaints about longer films. “I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” he said

“I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonisingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a f**king break. I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row.”

Avatar: The Way of Water is due to hit cinemas on December 16, 2022.