Nickelodeon, Par team for ‘Airbender’

Duo to release Shyamalan's live-action film

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies will release M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action bigscreen adaptation of the popular animated TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” on July 2, 2010.

Studio has dropped “Avatar” from the title of the action-adventure so as to avoid confusion with James Cameron’s 3-D epic “Avatar,” which 20th Century Fox opens Dec. 18, 2009.

“Airbender” is the first pic to claim that date.

The creators of the Nick TV series were heavily influenced by Japanese anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Storyline revolves around a young hero who has the ability to manipulate the elements and stop a ruthless nation from destroying the three other nations.

Shyamalan, who will direct from a script he penned, said Miyazaki is one of the greatest storytellers in the world. “In ‘The Last Airbender,’ I see an opportunity to make a live-action version of a Miyazaki film,” Shyamalan said.

Shyamalan is next in theaters with Fox’s “The Happening,” which opens June 13.