avatar sequels

Jim Cameron busy with upcoming "Avatar" sequels

Offering sneak peaks at the next installments of “X-Men” and “Planet of the Apes,” 20th Century Fox chairman Jim Gianopulos hailed the studio’s upcoming production slate – including the next three “Avatar” sequels – during Thursday’s first investor day for 21st Century Fox.

“And of course, Jim Cameron is finalizing the scripts, and yes that was plural, for the continuation of the saga that began with the highest-grossing film in history – ‘Avatar,’” Gianopulos said, adding that the studio plans to release the next three installments around Christmas in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Last week, Fox confirmed that Cameron had hired writers for the upcoming “Avatar” pics: “War of the Worlds” Josh Friedman, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and “Savages’” Shane Salerno.

Gianopulos also touted Fox’s “dominant” presence in animation and its prudent, bottom-line focused spending patterns during his presentation on the lot, which followed remarks by chairman Rupert Murdoch.

“I’m confident that these advantages will serve us well as we build our businesses into the future,” Gianopulos said.

On the television side, 20th television toppers Dana Walden and Gary Newman touted their roster of 43 original series on 16 different networks.

That’s “more programming on more platforms than any time in our company’s history,” Walden said.

Newman hailed shows like “Modern Family,” which he said was “on track to being a billion-dollar asset for us.”

In June, the News Corp. split its publishing and entertainment assets into separate and publicly traded companies. 21st Century Fox includes the Los Angeles-based film and television studios.

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