Yes, it’s a done deal. James Cameron has committed to make Avatar 2 and 3 as his next project. They are targeting to release Avarar 2 December 2014 and Avatar 3 December 2015.
No word if they will shoot the movies back to back, but I guess they have to if they want to release them just one year apart.
Press release below:
James Cameron is returning to Pandora for an extended stay, inking a deal with 20th Century Fox to direct a sequel and three-quel to “Avatar.” Those two pics will be his next projects.
Deal was confirmed to Daily Variety by Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.
Cameron and Fox are eyeing a December 2014 release for the tentatively titled “Avatar 2,” and a December 2015 release for “Avatar 3.”.
Cameron will begin working on the scripts for the two films early next year. He hopes to commence production later in 2011, but won’t decide whether he’ll shoot them back-to-back until he finishes writing.
Pics will be produced by Cameron and his partner Jon Landau for Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.
“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,” Cameron said. “I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”
“Avatar,” released by Fox last December, is the top-grossing film of all time, with a global haul of $2.8 billion. The 3D pic grossed $760.4 million domestically and $2 billion overseas. Pic’s boffo perf has helped fuel the boom in 3D feature production.
” ‘Avatar’ is not only the highest grossing movie of all time, it created a universe based on the singular imagination and daring of James Cameron, who also has raised the consciousness of people worldwide to some of the greatest issues facing our planet,” Gianopulos and Rothman said. “We had no greater priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of ‘Avatar.’ ”
Lightstorm partner Rae Sanchini negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.
Cameron penned “Avatar” from an idea he nurtured for more than a decade, all the while developing cutting-edge technology to make the 3D film, with the help of Peter Jackson’s WETA Digital.
Fox and Cameron have long said the cost of any follow-up films will be offset by the original investment made in creating the groundbreaking technology used in “Avatar.”
In addition to its history-making B.O. run, “Avatar” is the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time.
“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,” Cameron said. “With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at 20th Century Fox.”
The announcement for the two “Avatar” tentpoles answers the question of what Cameron will do next. Other projects he was rumored to be considering included “Cleopatra” for Sony.
Cameron has a long relationship with Fox, beginning with “Aliens” in 1985 and 1997’s “Titanic,” which previously held the all-time B.O. record until topped by “Avatar.”