Avatar 2 writer-director James Cameron says in a CineEurope presentation that the early results of his Avatar sequels are "beyond even our expectations." First up, of course, is Avatar 2, one of four planned sequels to the 2009 blockbuster Avatar. The first movie went on to become the all-time highest grossing film release worldwide with $2.78 billion in ticket sales. Plus, it earned nine Oscar nominations - including Best Picture and Best Director - and won statuettes for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects.
While it took Cameron nearly nine years after the release of the original Avatar to finally begin production on the sequels in September, admittedly he's had justification for the long break in filming. He has been developing technology to raise the visual effects bar above the already towering standards set by the first film. Further, Cameron has not only expanded the cast to include the children of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), he's going beyond the breathtaking vistas of Pandora from the first film by expanding the action to the seas of the distant planet.
According to Deadline, Cameron's production partner, Jon Landau, appeared at the CineEurope trade show in Barcelona, Spain, to introduce a video feed of Cameron on the set of the Avatar sequels, where the director said he's 130 days into performance capture production. Deadline reports the Oscar-winning filmmaker did his presentation in front of a giant water tank, where he noted that water "plays a huge part" of the sequels and that the films will take audiences to "never before seen parts of Pandora." Also boasting that new cast member Kate Winslet can hold her breath underwater for seven minutes, Cameron noted that the early results produced by filming "are beyond even our expectations."
While it's true that Cameron is a master promoter of his films and one could cast his comments off to the sort of hype any director would have in touting their work during production, there's no question that when the Avatar auteur makes promises, he puts his money where his mouth is. The filmmaker raised the bar for high-seas adventure films when 1997's Titanic went on to earn $2.1 billion at the global box office and win 11 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Then, he did the seemingly impossible by topping the then-all-time domestic and global box office records set by Titanic with Avatar a dozen years later.
Fans, naturally, will be the final judge of whether Avatar 2 lives up to the high expectations Cameron is setting when the film comes out in 2020. Avatar 3 is then set for a 2021, release, while the fourth and fifth chapters are dated to come out in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
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