Director James Cameron made a surprise appearance in Los Angeles genre festival ‘Beyond Fest’ for a Q&A about his film ‘The Abyss’ after a screening of the film’s seldom-seen two-hour and 51-minute Special Edition.
Unbeknown to the attendees (but later confirmed by festival programmers), the DCP presentation turned out to be the 4K transfer Cameron announced last year, physical and streaming versions of which he said were “out of his hands” but all work has long been completed, reports 'Variety'.
“All of the mastering is done and I think it drops pretty soon — a couple of months or something like that,” Cameron said in response to an audience question.
“There’s a lot of added material that they’re sticking in there, and it will be available on streaming simultaneously. But I didn’t just want to look at the old HD transfer. I wanted to do it right," he added.
As per 'Variety', back in 1989, the film marked one of the filmmaker’s few projects that did not immediately meet with commercial success, earning just short of $90 million worldwide on a reported budget of about half that much.
Speaking to moderator Jim Hemphill, Cameron acknowledged that its tapestry of romance, alien encounters and Cold War politics came together from a broad spectrum of influences.
“I think anybody that was a movie fan at that time — we’re talking 34 years ago — could see the DNA from other movies, from ‘Close Encounters’ to the Cold War movies, so obviously I was being pulled in different directions,” he said.
“But the one that stands above the others is ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still,’ which is a philosophical sci-fi film that asked the question ‘are we worthy if we were to be judged by a higher intelligence?’ That had a big impact on me as a kid and I wanted to do my own version of that but set it underwater because I was fascinated by the underwater world.”
Despite its commercial failure, ‘The Abyss’ has become a cult classic and is known for its powerful VFX work which later influenced Cameron’s work in ‘Terminator 2’.