When it comes to Hollywood, three words tend to get you what you want -- no, not "I love you" -- but "I made Titanic."
According to James Cameron, that's just what he said to then-20th Century Fox executives who were second-guessing him on his eventual highest-grossing movie of all time, Avatar.
Cameron tells the New York Times, "We clashed over certain things. For example, the studio felt that the film should be shorter and that there was too much flying around on ... what the humans call the banshees," the movie's flying lizards.
"Well, it turns out that’s what the audience loved the most, in terms of our exit polling," the filmmaker said.
"And that’s a place where I just drew a line in the sand and said, 'You know what? I made Titanic. This building that we're meeting in ... this new half-billion-dollar complex on your lot? Titanic paid for that, so I get to do this.' And afterward, they thanked me."
Cameron said he feels "that my job is to protect their investment, often against their own judgment."
The filmmaker recently attended a screening of the newly remastered 2009 film, ahead of a theatrical rerelease on September 23, meant to prep moviegoers for its long-awaited sequel: Avatar: The Way of Water.
"Young film fans never had the opportunity to see it in a movie theater," the Oscar winner says.
He added, "I was pleasantly surprised, not only at how well it holds up, but how gorgeous it is in its remastered state."
Those young converts apparently included Cameron's kids, he explained.
Cameron has four sequels in the works, stretching all the way to 2026. He didn't stipulate if he got the green light for all the follow-ups by saying, "I made Avatar."