That’s how Ridley Scott’s Alien was pitched to 20th Century Fox (…with the unfortunate working title of Star Beast).
“Think Pocahontas…in space.”
That’s definitely NOT how James Cameron pitched Avatar to Fox studios, though it would have been an apt summary of the plot. Likewise, Fern Gully, The Last Samurai, and Dances with Wolves (all in space) would have worked too.
Perhaps surprisingly, Fox initially rejected Cameron’s proposal on the grounds of his overly-ambitious vision (and astronomical production budget of $237 million).
Critics were likewise skeptical, predicting the film would be a major box office disappointment.
Cameron, however, was undeterred by the naysayers.
His sentiment is that pressure is good for filmmakers, that pressure…
“Makes us think about our audience and what they want.”
And clearly Cameron succeeded.
Avatar became the highest grossing film in history on January 26th, 2010, at $2,779,404,183 USD worldwide.