Canadian filmmaker James Cameron will write and direct the second and third installments of the sci-fi film Avatar for release in 2014 and 2015, reports AFP.
Executives at 20th Century Fox confirmed to AFP that they had reached an agreement with Cameron to make the sequels to Avatar, the biggest box office hit in contemporary film history, with $2.8 billion in sales since its opening in December 2009.
Cameron and Fox will begin production of the films at the end of 2011 and plan to release the second installment in December 2014.
“We had no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of Avatar,” Reuters quoted Fox Entertainment Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman saying in a joint statement.
Cameron, the creator of the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, redefined the art of special effects with Avatar, which took more than a decade to produce because of the advances in technology required to realise his vision.
Along with the massive box office — Avatar dwarfs the No. 2 film ever, Titanic, with $1.8 billion in ticket sales — Avatar also became the bestselling Blu-ray DVD of all time.
The film earned nine Oscar nominations and won three, and was named the year’s best movie at the Golden Globe Awards.
Cameron earlier promised that the second and third movies would have “self contained” stories that are part of the greater story arc of the Na’vi struggling against humans.
Set in the year 2154, Avatar tells the story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paraplegic ex-marine who is sent to live among the Na’Vi, a race of blue humanoids who live in the exotic lunar planet, Pandora. When Sully falls in love with a Na’Vi (Zoe Saldana), he rebels against the power-hungry humans who have sent him to save their own species. The popular film was criticised by some conservatives in the United States for its environmentalist and anti-imperialist themes.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2010.