James Cameron made good on his repeated promises of sequels to the immensely popular and box-office busting 3D epic “Avatar” with a press release from Fox this morning stating that he has agreed to make “Avatar 2” and “3” his next films.
The news definitely disrupts plans for Sony Pictures who had been courting Cameron to head up a 3D “Cleopatra” with Angelina Jolie. But it’s hardly surprising news that he would pick Fox over Sony, as James Cameron’s relationship with the studio dates back to “Aliens” in 1985, and includes “Titanic,” winner of eleven academy awards.
New 3D cameras and motion capture technology were developed for “Avatar,” and its huge success ushered in our current era of 3D films. His script was based on a story that he had been mulling over for more than ten years. In a recent interview with Drew McWeeny he related that he had enough material involving Pandora and its nearby planets for ten sequels.
In the release today Cameron said: “It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company. AVATAR was conceived as an epic work of fantasy – a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world. With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox. Our goal is to meet and exceed the global audience’s expectations for the richness of AVATAR”s visual world and the power of the storytelling. In the second and third films, which will be self contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of AVATAR”s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”
It is not known if he will shoot 2 and 3 back to back (as Peter Jackson did with “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) as a cost cutting move, as the scripts have yet to be written. Fox is looking to jump in and begin production late in 2011 with a target of December 2014 for the premiere of the first film. The third film would ideally be released a year later in December of 2015.