James Cameron will not attend the Monday evening premiere of his highly anticipated sequel “Avatar: The Way of Water” in Los Angeles after contracting COVID-19, variety has learned.
Cameron, who has not brought a film he directed to Hollywood’s backyard since 2009 when the game-changing “Avatar” debuted, is asymptomatic and feeling well, insiders said. He will continue to engage in publicity for the film, albeit virtually.
Industry players and lucky fans pouring into the Hollywood and Highland complex Monday night will have to make do with the film’s starry cast, which includes Kate Winslet, Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Edie Falco and Jemaine Clement.
Cameron did attend the film’s world premiere in London last week. His latest opens this Friday and looks to close the year with a bang for distributor Disney. Reports have the opening weekend box office projections at $150 million minimum. The film also scored a release in China, bolstering its chances for profitability.
The film has received rapturous reception in early media screenings, rained on with superlatives like “phenomenal,” “breathtaking” and “epic.”
The sequel takes place more than a decade after the events of its predecessor and tells the story of “the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies they endure,” per a synopsis.
Cameron wasn’t the only power player the industry was looking forward to seeing on Monday. The premiere should mark the first public appearance of Bob Iger, the returning hero who was reinstated as Disney’s chief executive in late November.