Undeterred by rabid negative fan reaction, negative critical reaction, mediocre box office, and a lowly 8% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes (as of this writing), M. Night Shyamalan is soldering on with plans for a second and third “The Last Airbender” movie — that is, if the film ends up making enough money to justify a sequel or two, and the studio greenlights them. At this point, that’s a pretty big IF.
Speaking to MTV, Shyamalan spills on his ideas for the sequels:
The third is more ambiguous, but the second one, I’ve written a draft that I’m really happy with and is darker and richer, and it has a wonderful antagonist in it in Azula, who’s kind of like our only real, pure antagonist in the series, so I’m excited about that.
And on the missing Kyoshi warriors, who failed to make any appearance at all in the first movie:
We shot [the scene] and [the Kyoshi Warriors] were amazing, and we spent an unbelievable amount of time choreographing them. And they just distracted from the movie, because the movie wasn’t about them.
For those hoping to see the colorful warriors show up in the DVD as deleted scenes, don’t hold your breath. Shyamalan says he’s decided to introduce them in the second movie, and that’s that, jack.
So what are the chances of a “Last Airbender” sequel? The film, made for $150 million (not including promotion and advertising, which are usually equal to or greater than the production budget for big Hollywood movies), has grossed $79 million so far in domestic release. It has still to open worldwide, so there’s always a chance the film will continue to chug along toward a respectable haul Stateside, while cleaning up overseas. Either way, it needs to at least turn in around $300 million or change, with a huge splash on DVD, for the studio to even consider a sequel, much less two.