While we’d much rather get more Terminator movies than Avatar ones, production has nevertheless begun on James Cameron’s quartet of Avatar sequels. Deadline reports that production officially began yesterday in Manhattan Beach.
Cameron will be shooting the films in succession, and Deadline notes that the estimated collective budget is expected to surpass $1 billion. As of now, Fox seems to be sticking with the previously announced release dates for the films, which finds the first sequel dropping on December 18th, 2020, the next on December 17th, 2021, and the following two in 2024 and 2025.
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This seems consistent with comments he made to Entertainment Weekly in August, as well as speculation by star Sigourney Weaver. “We’re in what we call ‘scouting,’ which basically is shooting for me. I’m on the stage all day long during the scouting process, because there are no sets or locations, other than in the virtual world, so I do all my location-scouting with a troop of actors that go through the virtual sets, and give me a sense of the scale and position, lighting, that sort of thing. Then, I’m in rehearsals with my principal cast and I start with them at the end of September.”
The first Avatar movie hit theaters in 2009. While a technical marvel, it nevertheless failed to impress critics. Still, it went on to become one of the top-grossing films of all time worldwide, so it’s not as if there aren’t at least some people out there stoked for these sequels.
Nevertheless, it’s been a long journey to this point. The first sequel was slated for a 2017 release, and a year later it was delayed again. Then Cameron added a fourth sequel to the docket, and made the absurd promise to release a new Avatar movie every year starting in late 2018. And, after another delay, here we are.