A war of words broke out today between Avatar director James Cameron and producer Mark Canton over whether Weinstein Co/Dimension’s current version of Piranha 3D is a crapfest. (Cameron was hired and then fired as the director of the original 1981 Piranha Part 2). Here’s what they are saying:
Cameron told VanityFair.com while publicizing his Avatar re-release: “I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but [Piranha 3D] is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3D horror films from the ’70s and ’80s, like Friday The 13th 3D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip. And that’s now what’s happening now with 3D. It is a renaissance. Right now the biggest and best films are being made in 3D. Martin Scorsese is making a film in 3D [Hugo Cabret]. Disney’s biggest film of the year – Tron: Legacy — is coming out in 3D. So it’s a whole new ballgame.”
Canton issued this rebuttal via Dimension’s PR department: “As a producer in the entertainment industry, Jim Cameron’s comments on VanityFair.com are very disappointing to me and the team that made Piranha 3D. Mr. Cameron, who singles himself out to be a visionary of movie-making, seems to have a small vision regarding any motion pictures that are not his own. It is amazing that in the movie-making process – which is certainly a team sport – that Cameron consistently celebrates himself out as though he is a team of one. His comments are ridiculous, self-serving and insulting to those of us who are not caught up in serving his ego and his rhetoric.
Jim, are you kidding or what? First of all, let’s start by you accepting the fact that you were the original director of Piranha 2 and you were fired. Shame on you for thinking that genre movies and the real maestros like Roger Corman and his collaborators are any less auteur or impactful in the history of cinema than you. Martin Scorcese made Boxcar Bertha at the beginning of his career. And Francis Ford Coppola made Dimentia 13 back in 1963. And those are just a few examples of the talented and successful filmmakers whose roots are in genre films. Who are you to impugn any genre film or its creators?
Dimension Films has put toothy fish back on the menu. Inexplicably, a sequel’s coming for Piranha 3D, after it only grossed $10 million opening weekend. The Alexandre Aja-directed film was produced by Mark Canton. Whoever didn’t end up eaten is eligible to reprise.
Actually, Canton said that even those actors turned into chum are asking to take a mulligan and get in the sequel. “We had such a good time that even those cast members who ended up dead want to be in the sequel,” he told Deadline. “We’ll have to figure out how that could work. For us, the way the film held up and then opened strong in England showed that there is room for a real 3D popcorn picture. There’s a fan base that’s growing and it is establishing itself as a fun movie where people are laughing and having fun.” Canton said they are working out who among the creative team will return and it sounded like it’s Aja’s sequel to direct if he wants it.
Director Alexandre Aja has emerged from the Piranha 3D fish tank determined to next sink his teeth into Cobra—The Space Pirate. While not well known in America, the Buichi Terasawa-created Japanese manga was turned into an animated series that was hugely popular across Europe and especially in Aja’s childhood household.
After a long courtship, Aja said he’s been granted the rights by Terasawa. He wants to turn the futuristic saga into a tent pole-sized live action franchise. He is writing the script with Gregory Levasseur and will produce with Levasseur, Marc Sessego and Alexandra Milchan. Since directing the 2003 French fright film High Tension, Aja has stayed in horror mode with The Hills Have Eyes, Mirrors and Piranha 3D. He wants to step up to a big science fiction fantasy tale.
In a future where merchant spaceships and ruthless brigands sail across space, Cobra is a notorious rogue pirate whose refusal to align with the United Galaxies Federation or the Pirates Guild puts him on the business end of a huge bounty. As he tries to keep his identity secret and avoid capture, Cobra teams up with a sexy bounty hunter named Jane, who is out to locate her sisters and decode a treasure map tattooed on their backs. Their goal: to liberate a lost treasure on Mars. To Aja, Cobra was every bit a seminal rogue as Han Solo or Indiana Jones.