Star director signs up to take charge of sequels to science fiction 3D blockbuster.
James Cameron’s next two films will both be set on Pandora, he confirmed today.
Variety reports that Cameron signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to direct both Avatar 2, which has been given a tentative release date of December 2014 and Avatar 3, due for distribution a year later.
“In the second and third films, which will be self-contained stories that also fulfil 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,” said Cameron. “I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”
Cameron will begin work on the scripts for both films in early 2011, after which he’ll also decide whether or not to shoot them back-to-back.
Released last December, Avatar is the top-grossing film of all time, having made $2.8bn (£1.8bn) worldwide, aided considerably by the inflated prices for 3D tickets.
Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman explained that their commitment to the franchise was not merely financial. “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,” they 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.”
Today’s announcement throws into doubt whether Cameron will direct the 3D remake of Cleopatra, with Angelina Jolie in the title role, which he had been linked to.
That film would have been a Sony production. Cameron’s first film with Fox was Aliens in 1985; he also worked for Fox on Titanic, which held the box office record before Avatar.
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