Fortune had a chance to interview filmmaker James Cameron when he participated in a Reddit AMA recently. Cameron was recently nailed by Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch for being late on turning in his projects.
Saving face, Cameron assured press officials that a timetable has been set up for the subsequent Avatar sequels. All three sequels are in preproduction and will be filmed simultaneously with the following release years: “Avatar 2” (2016,) “Avatar 3” (2017) and “Avatar 4” (2018.)
“The second, third and fourth films all go into production simultaneously. They’re essentially all in preproduction now, because we are designing creatures, settings, and characters that span all three films. And we should be finished with all three scripts within the next, I would say, six weeks. There’s always pressure, whether it’s a new film or whether it’s a sequel, to entertain and amaze an audience. I’ve felt that pressure my entire career, so there’s nothing new there. The biggest pressure I feel right now is cutting out things I love to get the film down to a length that is affordable. There hasn’t been a problem finding new and wonderful things to include in the movie.”
Cameron felt the heat from Murdoch’s comments which stated:
It is true that Cameron has a reputation for missing many of his targeted release dates. “Titanic” was to be a summer of 1997 release, but was pushed back to December to finish the special effects. “Avatar” had similar woes. It was to be released in May of 2009, but it was pushed back to December to finish work on the visual effects. Will this be the same case for “Avatar 2?”
A reunion of sorts was rumored last year between Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron for “Avatar 2,” but Cameron was quick to squash those rumors.
The filmmaker changed the subject slightly to discuss the Disney Parks opening of Avatar Land.
“Well, Disney is doing a first-rate job designing it. It’s going to be completely spectacular. It will be like being on Pandora. You will see real floating mountains. It’s going to be a very magical experience just to be there and walk around. And the two rides will be absolute state of the art. But I don’t know how much they want me to say about what those rides specifically are, so I probably shouldn’t say anymore than that. But from what I’ve seen so far, it will be amazing. I will be sad it’s in Florida, because I won’t be able to go a lot to it.”
“Avatar 2” is scheduled for a December 2016 release. The film will star Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang. James Friedman and James Cameron wrote the screenplay based on characters created by James Cameron. James Cameron directs.
“Avatar 3” is scheduled for a December 2017 release. The film will star Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña and Stephen Lang. Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and James Cameron wrote the screenplay based on characters created by James Cameron. James Cameron directs.
“Avatar 4” is scheduled for a November 2018 release. The film will star Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldaña and Stephen Lang. Shane Salerno wrote the screenplay based on characters created by James Cameron. James Cameron directs.
“Avatar Land” began construction in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in January of this year and is expected to open sometime in 2016 to coincide with the release of the second Avatar film. It is speculated to be budgeted at $500 million.
Sources: deadline, wdwmagic, IMDb