James Cameron, acclaimed film director whose work included Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986) and Titanic (1997) has announced he will no longer make three sequels to his 2009 smash hit and currently the highest grossing film of all time Avatar, because he’s going to make four.
The first sequel is expected to hit screens in December 2018, were it is expected it will compete with one of the Star Wars spin off films in a battle of two cinematic giants for the spot at the top of the box office. The subsequent sequels will then be released in 2020, 2022 and 2023, meaning that there will be 14 years between the release of the first film and the release of the fifth.
Hollywood Icon Sigourney Weaver, who first worked with James Cameron on Aliens before re-collaborating on Avatar, has been confirmed to star in them all despite the fact her character appeared to die in the first film, whilst her co-stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang (another actors whose character died in the first film!) are known to have signed contracts for sequels, but it’s not clear how many, nor if they will remain a part of the ever-expanding world of Pandora for the newly announced fourth film. It is also not known if all four films will shoot simultaneously; both Weaver and Cameron previously confirmed that three sequels will be shot back to back in New Zealand in the same way that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was, but the fourth film might scupper those plans, and it would take a big commitment from cast and crew to agree to keep their diaries clear for so long!
News of the sequels was met with animosity on Twitter, a surprise given the colossal success of the first film, with many people lamenting the fact James Cameron was dedicating so much time on Avatar rather than making other films, and others questioning the demand for four subsequent Avatar films.
Given that 20th Century Fox will invest around a billion dollars in to production of the films, not counting the costs of marketing, both Fox and Cameron will be hoping that the success of the first one was not a flue and that there is demand for an Avatar sequel (or four), even after almost 10 years, as they’ll need to sell a lot of tickets to make a profit!
Writers Josh Friedman, Shane Salerno, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are working with Cameron on the scripts.
Before the first of the sequels comes along, though, Disney will launch the Pandora – The World of Avatar theme park based on the fictional world. The park will be part of Animal Kingdom and open in 2017, with hopes it will rival Universal Studies The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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