×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Cameron’s 5-year plan

Director signs up for two more 'Avatar' pics

The far-reaching pact for two more “Avatar” pics keeps James Cameron at 20th Century Fox for at least five more years in a sizeable coup for the studio.

As first reported by Variety.com, “Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” will be Cameron’s next films. He’s hoping to begin production in late 2011, and could shoot the films back-to-back. He’s expected to begin writing early next year.

It’s only the second time in his career that Cameron has directed an original and a sequel — “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” came out nearly 20 years ago (he directed “Aliens,” but not the original “Alien”).His commitment to an “Avatar” sequel and three-quel underscores Cameron’s avid interest in revisiting the world he created for “Avatar” and continuing the storyline.

For Fox, it provides two cornerstone tentpoles that are expected to hit theaters in December 2014 and December 2015, respectively.

A global sensation that proved the power of 3D if done right, “Avatar” cumed $2.8 billion at the global box office to become the top grossing film of all time, toppling Cameron’s “Titanic” ($1.8 billion).

Negotiations for the sequel and three-quel began in earnest over the summer, according to insiders. Cameron has a close relationship with Fox Filmed Entertainment co-chair Jim Gianopulos, who shares the top job with Tom Rothman.

Cameron also has a long relationship with Fox, beginning with “Aliens” in 1985 and 1997’s “Titanic.”

One unique provision of the deal is that Fox will help co-fund with Cameron a nonprofit org, the Avatar Foundation, which will support indigenous rights and the environment, including the fight against global warming. Certain proceeds from future “Avatar” pics will go to the foundation.

Avatar 2” and “Avatar 3” will be produced by Cameron and his partner Jon Landau for Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment. Lightstorm partner Rae Sanchini negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.

“In the second and third films, which will be self-contained stories that also fulfill 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,” Cameron said. “I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”

Fox and Cameron have always said the cost of any follow-up films will be offset by the original investment made in creating the groundbreaking technology used in “Avatar.”

“Avatar,” released by Fox in December, grossed $760.4 million domestically and $2 billion overseas and helped fuel the boom in 3D feature production. It’s also the top-selling Blu-ray disc.

“‘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,” Gianopulos and Rothman 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.’ ”

Cameron penned “Avatar” from an idea he nurtured for more than a decade, all the while developing cutting-edge technology to make the 3D film, with the help of Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital.

“It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company,” Cameron said. “With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at 20th Century Fox.”

The announcement for the two “Avatar” tentpoles answers the question of what Cameron will do next. Other projects he was rumored to be considering included “Cleopatra” for Sony.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Tops 'Joker,' 'Zombieland'

    “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is on track to give Disney another first place finish after scoring $12.5 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales. If estimates hold, the Angelina Jolie-led film should finish the weekend with about $38 million — well below earlier forecasts but enough to top holdover “Joker” and fellow newcomer “Zombieland: Double Tap.” [...]

  • Maelle Arnaud

    Lumière Chief Programmer Maelle Arnaud: 'Film History Doesn't Have Parity'

    LYON, France   — As the Lumière Institute’s head programmer since 2001, Maelle Arnaud helped launched the Lumière Festival in 2009 and has watched it grow in international esteem over the decade that followed. This year, the festival ran 190 films across 424 screenings in theaters all over town. The festival will come to a [...]

  • Girl with Green Eyes

    Talking Pictures TV: Bringing the Past Back to Life in the U.K.

    LYON, France – Since its launch in 2015, Talking Pictures TV has become the fastest-growing independent channel in the U.K. with a growing library of British film and TV titles that span five decades, according to founder Noel Cronin. Noel Cronin attended the Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, where he [...]

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

  • Zombieland Double Tap

    Why Emma Stone Was Haunted by Fear of Vomiting While Shooting 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains a slight spoiler for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” The zombie slayers are back! Ten years after Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin first killed dead people walking in “Zombieland,” they’ve reunited for “Zombieland: Double Tap.” “You take stock of your life a little bit,” Stone says of [...]

  • Hereditary

    The Best Horror Films to Stream Right Now

    Good horror movies aren’t always easy to scare up, but with Halloween on the horizon, Variety has compiled a list of some of the best horror films available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. NETFLIX Apostle Cult horror meets religious hypocrisy in this creepy gothic thriller, which follows prodigal son Thomas Richardson, who returns home [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content