Set take conquer the world all over again, James Cameron gave an update on his numerous Avatar sequels when speaking with RTL. Last we heard Cameron was still writing, and the sequels were set to be filmed in New Zealand.
Cameron is indeed still writing, but he has also revealed plans to possibly film some, or all of the three sequels in Higher Frame Rate. The director also gave a brief insight into what exactly has been happening since the last update:
“We’re still in the early stages. Right now we’re developing the software. I’m writing the scripts. We’re designing all the creatures and characters and the settings, and so on. So, I’m not actually directing yet, but I’m doing all the other creative processes that lead up to that… It’s going very well. I think it’s going to be spectacular. You’ll see new worlds, new habitats, new cultures. The primary conflict between the human view kind of dominating nature and the Na’vi view of being integrated into nature is the same, but it manifests itself in very different ways.”
He then went on to discuss the vast scope of what can be achieved within his Avatar world, and that there are “endless possibilities” to discover:
“That’s the great thing about Avatar, it’s such a rich world, I can explore any theme or any idea that I want. Once you’ve got the characters that an audience loves, it’s great to surprise them and make changes and turns that they don’t expect. And you don’t have to spend so much time of the movie setting up all that stuff, because the audience will remember from the previous film.”
Finally, Cameron hinted at the possibility of shooting in Higher Frame Rate:
“[We’re] looking at high frame rate. I’m studying that. I haven’t made a final decision yet, whether the entire film will be made at high frame rate or parts of it. You know, we’ll be shooting at a native resolution of probably 4K and so then there should be a lot of true 4K theaters by then as well.”
Here’s what we know about the three Avatar sequels so far:
At a press conference in Wellington, N.Z., with the New Zealand’s prime minister John Key, James Cameron announced that he will make all three Avatar sequels for 20th Century Fox, in New Zealand.
The announcement also confirmed that the films were expected to have cinema releases in December 2016, December 2017 and December 2018.
Variety reports that the three films will spend at least $412 million (500 million in New Zealand dollars) in that nation as a condition of an agreement between Fox, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and the government of New Zealand. In return, the films will receive a film industry tax rebate of 25% — a figure which was recently increased from 15%.
“The ‘Avatar’ sequels will provide hundreds of jobs and thousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as well as jobs right across the economy,” Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement.
“Avatar” producer Jon Landau and Paul Hanneman, Fox’s co-presidents of worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution, were also on hand for the announcement. “New Zealand offers unparalleled support to films of this scale,” Hanneman said.
Cameron also said at the press conference that filming on all three sequels should last for a period of about nine months. He also said that the budget for all three sequels put together should come in under $1 billion, and considering the first Avatar film cost $500 million, this will be quite an achievement.
The first Avatar film achieved a worldwide box office phenomenon of $2.78 billion, making it the biggest film in history.
Peter Jackson shot his Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films in New Zealand, and his own Weta company are already working on the Avatar sequels.
The deal for the three films receiving the 25% rebate was outlined in a memorandum of understanding between the New Zealand government, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. It specified that at least $412 million would be spent on production in New Zealand, including most live action filming and visual effects.
The memorandum of understanding also spells out that 90% of live action crew are expected to be New Zealanders; an internship program will be supported; New Zealand will host at least one official red carpet premiere; and a featurette on New Zealand will be included in DVDs and Blu Rays.
The memorandum also states that Cameron and Landau have offered to serve as founding members of a new screen advisory board to provide advice and guidance to New Zealand filmmakers looking to succeed internationally.
The three pictures will be filmed simultaneously with production beginning next year. The release of the first sequel will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later. AVATAR 2, 3, and 4 will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment banner. Like the original film, Lightstorm will work with Joe Letteri and his team at WETA Digital to realize the worlds of the sequels.
Commented Cameron: “Building upon the world we created with AVATAR has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that AVATAR’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired - to join me in completing the films screenplays.”
Commented 20th Century Fox chairman and CEO, Jim Gianopulos: “We at the studio have no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of AVATAR. The growing breadth and scale of Jim Cameron’s plans for his magnificent fantasy worlds continue to amaze us all.”