×

‘Avatar’ Sequels Progress to Next Level as Weta Digital Begins Visual Effects Work

Visual effects studio Weta Digital has begun work on the four sequels to James Cameron’s “Avatar,” one of the highest-grossing films ever.

The Wellington, New Zealand-based shop was most recently in the limelight for its motion-capture work on “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

“What Joe Letteri and Weta Digital bring to these stories is impossible to quantify,” said Cameron, referring to Weta Digital’s senior visual effects supervisor. “Since we made ‘Avatar,’ Weta continued to prove themselves as doing the best CG animation, the most human, the most alive, the most photo-realistic effects in the world.”

He added, “And of course, that now means I can push them to take it even further.”

“The depth of talent at Weta is impressive and the culture of excellence is one that matches how we do things at Lightstorm,” said Jon Landau, producer on all the avatar movies. Lightstorm Entertainment is the production company behind “Avatar” and other Cameron-directed features, including “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “Titanic.”

Landau hinted at breakthroughs to come. “We also know that these next films promise to be even more ambitious than the first film,” he noted.

Popular on Variety

“Avatar is the ideal type of film for us,” said Letteri. “Jim’s vision for the world of Pandora was always so much bigger than what we created for the first film. Helping him expand the language of cinema through new narratives set in such an expansive universe is the type of opportunity that rarely comes along twice. Projects like this allow everyone involved to push themselves to do their best work.”

“The excitement at Weta around ‘Avatar’ is obvious and the fact is that we have already been working on it for a number of years,” said Weta Digital executive producer David Conley. “During that period we have grown the company to a size and model that allows us to expand beyond any one project. This enables us to find a mix of other films that can help us grow along with ‘Avatar,’ as is the case with ‘Alita: Battle Angel,’ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Mortal Engines,’ to name a few of the other films we are currently working on.”

More Artisans

  • call of the wild

    'The Call of the Wild' Editor David Heinz on Creating Emotions for a CGI Dog

    “The Call of the Wild” editor David Heinz has worked on “The Jungle Book” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” but this movie starring Harrison Ford and an animated dog named Buck was different. “If you think about it, the lead of the movie is fully CGI and never speaks,” he said, also [...]

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    'Portrait of a Lady on Fire' Cinematographer, Costume Designer on the 'Painterly' 18th-Century Look

    “Painterly” might be an overused term to describe a certain aesthetic of period cinematography, informed by candlelit interiors and sweeping outdoor compositions. But it seizes the essence of French writer-director Céline Sciamma’s deeply feminist 18th-century gay romance set on the coast of Brittany, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which debuted in theaters on Valentine’s [...]

  • Zombies 2 Disney Channel

    How Disney Channel's 'Zombies 2' Production Team Made Monsters Kid-Friendly

    Traditionally spooky creatures like zombies and werewolves get the Disney treatment in “Zombies 2,” the follow-up to the 2018 hit TV-movie musical of the same name. While the undead have now assimilated into the community of Seabrook, they’re confronted by a new set of outsiders: werewolves. Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly return as Zed and [...]

  • MCC theater presents 'Alice By Heart'

    Steven Sater on Adapting 'Alice by Heart' From a Musical to a Book

    When producers approached lyricist Steven Sater (“Spring Awakening”) to adapt Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” into a musical, his initial reaction was to recoil. His initial thought was that the book didn’t have a beginning, middle and an ending. But Sater pulled it off with his production of “Alice By Heart.” After an off-Broadway [...]

  • Debbie Allen Gracie Awards

    Black History Month: Celebrating African American Choreographers and Dancers

    When you think of famous choreographers, one of the first people who probably comes to mind is Debbie Allen. Also a dancer, a director and an actress, she has done it all. Allen made her Broadway debut in “Purlie,” but gained recognition as Lydia Grant in both the TV and film versions of “Fame.” She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content