'Avatar' returns with release dates for 2 and 3
Director James Cameron has been hinting all year about following up the all-time biggest film ever,
Avatar, with sequels. In the meantime, other projects piqued his interest. But Wednesday, an announcement made the Avatar franchise official.
Cameron will direct "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3" as his next two films. As of January 2011, he will begin writing the screenplays, and he plans to start production at the end of next year.
The release date for the second installment is targeted for December 2014 and the third film is scheduled to open December 2015.
"It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow," the director/producer said in a statement, according to Variety. "I'm looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild."
The film studio wanted to nail down a deal considering Avatar made $750 million at the US box office and $2.8 billion worldwide, as well as becoming the best-selling Blu-ray.
The second and third films will be self-contained but also expand on the Avatar story, its themes and characters, Cameron said. An avid scuba diver, he has spoken of the idea of wanting to explore the seas of Pandora.
The next two installments will be five years in the making, which would be expected considering how much technologically is involved in creating the world of Pandora. Cameron hasn't decided if he wants to shoot them back to back yet. However, since they are released within a year of each other, it would seem advantageous for production.
Cameron and Jon Landau will produce for Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment. Landau said, "With the first movie, Jim only scratched the surface of the stories he wants to tell and the creatures and world he wants to create. Now we will continue his vision."
In the meantime, Cameron has produced Sanctum, due February 2011, about dangers lurking in an underwater cave, and has signed on for At the Mountains of Madness, adapted from H.P. Lovecraft's story about a menacing discovery on an Antarctic expedition, to be directed by Guillermo del Toro ( Pan's Labyrinth).
Battle Angel, about a 26th century female cyborg rescued from the scrapheap, is another film Cameron plans to direct, and rumors have surfaced about his interest in an update of Cleopatra. But these films may have to wait.
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