With the death of the producer of ‘Avatar’, an era in which films were not made by shareholders has also gone.

With the death of the producer of ‘Avatar’, an era in which films were not made by shareholders has also gone.
With the death of the producer of ‘Avatar’, an era in which films were not made by shareholders has also gone.

In addition to his collaborations with James Cameron, his career includes films such as ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ and ‘Power Rangers’.

9 julio 2024, 14:30

Updated 9 July 2024, 16:41

Jon Landau’s death has been an unexpected blow to Hollywood. He was one of the most beloved producers in the industry, and co-responsible for some of its greatest successes. But it also means something else: the realization that the Hollywood of a few years ago, the one that was run by people and for interests relatively linked to creativity and cultureIt’s disappearing.

His death at just 63 leaves James Cameron, his principal partner, for whom he produced ‘Titanic’ and the two ‘Avatar’ films released to date, without him. In other words, Landau was behind three of the four highest-grossing films in history. Among other records, Landau was the producer of the first film to gross more than a billion dollars at the international box office, with ‘Titanic’.

Landau was known for his deep involvement in the films he produced: he had already planned thoroughly, with Cameron, the three remaining installments of ‘Avatar’. He was also deeply involved in the development of the UbiSoft video game inspired by the series and the Dark Horse comics that followed from its success. But those were not the only ones he could boast about.

At just 29, he was already the executive vice president of production at 20th Century Fox, which led him to oversee hits such as Die Hard 2, Power Rangers, The Last of the Mohicans and True Lies, where he met James Cameron. It was when he left Fox that he talked about reworking his script for Planet Ice and turning it into Titanic. Their collaboration went so far that he eventually became chief operating officer of Cameron’s production company, Lightstorm Entertainment.

Landau’s legacy

In the abundant displays of grief that various Hollywood personalities have given after his death, there has been talk of how his involvement with the films he produced is no longer usual. Landau himself stated in 2022 for The Talks that “I could never sit at a desk and just approve things. Not just as a producer, but in life. I want to be involved, I want to have a voice, I want to influence. (…) I don’t want to be that guy sitting at a desk at any point in my life.”

Landau’s disappearance is thus one of the last gasps of a very different way of understanding Hollywood than today, where production companies are business conglomerates where cinema is simply another of its tentacles. Today’s Hollywood has not only repeatedly demonstrated an aversion to risk, which is lethal to creativity, but is also controlled by corporations that do not have their roots in the classic creators of films, those companies that today have been absorbed by media or telecommunications giants – Warner, Fox, Universal…

Although Landau signed, of course, like every great Hollywood producer, sequels and remakes, and was immersed in all the mammoth springs of the industry, His way of understanding films was far from the shareholders’ tables which endorse installment after installment of sagas that have lost all their original spirit. His career with Cameron is a good proof of this: although with the ‘Avatar’ installments he broke the record for the highest grossing film in history on two occasions, they are original films, with their own mythology and which transmit messages of a certain personality.

That is why Landau was so involved in press conferences and presentations around the world for the Avatar films, and why he also fought to ensure that the franchise’s comics, books and video games were faithful to the original concept he had worked on with Cameron. For Landau, a film was more than a string of (profitable) sausages, and that is why people are mourning him so passionately.

Header | Wikimedia, Disney

At Xataka | Why the ‘Avatar’ saga is so unpopular if it is one of the highest-grossing in history

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