Director James Cameron has confirmed that three sequels to his 'Avatar' blockbuster will be produced in New Zealand, beginning in 2015. New Zealand, the Polynesian country where Peter Jackson filmed his 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Hobbit' trilogies, has agreed to a 25% rebate for the production, in a joint venture with Twentieth Century Fox and Cameron's own Lightstorm Entertainment.
Cameron made the announcement in the New Zealand capital of Wellington, alongside producer Jon Landau and Prime Minister John Key. Cameron declined to disclose an exact budget for the impending trilogy, but expects that the production will be kept under $1 billion. Lightstorm and Twentieth Century Fox will spend at least $413 million in New Zealand on the movies.
"It's quite a thrill to be officially saying that we're bringing the Avatar films to New Zealand," Cameron said during the press conderence. "We had such a wonderful experience here making the first film." Prime Minister Key added, "It's a day of great celebration. It's a great Christmas present for those involved in making world class movies."
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Academy Award-winning director Cameron, also a part-time explorer of the Mariana Trench, said that he has commenced writing the scripts for the new films, and plans to shoot them in 3-D, with some of the sequences being captured in 48 frames per second.
Cameron said he hopes to shoot all three films in tandem over a nine month period, with the aim being the release of the first sequel in time for Christmas 2016, with the following sequels coming in late 2017 and late 2018. Prime Minister Key stated that the 'Avatar' production will revitalize the New Zealand film industry, after it saw a decline when the 'Hobbit' trilogy wrapped production.
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Image via Wikimedia Commons.