In an interview with Esquire Middle East, Cameron revealed the film would’ve run 10 minutes longer than its already over three-hour run time had he not cut out these scenes.
“I actually cut about 10 minutes of the movie targeting gunplay action,” Cameron said. “I wanted to get rid of some of the ugliness, to find a balance between light and dark. You have to have conflict, of course. Violence and action are the same thing, depending on how you look at it. This is the dilemma of every action filmmaker, and I’m known as an action filmmaker.
Cameron, who is Canadian but resides in New Zealand, added that he feels regret over the amount of gun violence in some of his previous films and expressed support for tighter gun regulations as a response to mass shootings.
“I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now. I don’t know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of Terminator movies 30-plus years ago, in our current world," he said. "What’s happening with guns in our society turns my stomach.”
“I’m happy to be living in New Zealand where they just banned all assault rifles two weeks after that horrific mosque shooting a couple of years ago,” Cameron continued.
Despite receiving generally positive reviews from both audience and critics, Avatar: The Way of Water has disappointed Disney by falling short of expectations for its box office launch.
The film, which is a sequel to the 2009 Avatar and is said to be one of the most expensive films ever made, hauled in $134 million domestically and had the second-largest global opening of 2022, but still fell short of projections and underperformed in many of its largest markets including China. The situation has led Disney, who distributed the film, to remain on course for its worst stock market year since 1974.