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Avatar sequels to be made in New Zealand

Published: 12:30PM Thursday October 28, 2010 Source: Reuters/ONE News

Twentieth Century Fox film studio and director James Cameron unveiled plans for two new Avatar movies, which will be made in New Zealand.

The announcement today erased any lingering doubt over whether they would again team up for sequels to the biggest blockbuster movie of all time.

Wellington's Weta Digital was responsible for all the computer animated effects on the original film.

Cameron promised fans of the $3.7 billion global box office bonanza that he would "not back off the throttle" of the original movie's visual and emotional sci-fi story about the tall, blue Na'vi people who dwell on the lush moon, Pandora.

Avatar 2 is projected to land in theatres in December 2014 with a third film coming one year later.
  
"Avatar' was conceived as an epic work of fantasy - a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world," Cameron said in a statement.

The Titanic director unleashed Avatar on audiences last year with new 3D technology and an emotional tale that mixed Hollywood-style action with a tale of humans trying to exploit the natural resources on Pandora.

The combination of adventure and environmentalism thrilled audiences. Along with the massive box office - Avatar dwarfs the No. 2 film ever, Titanic, with $2.4 billion in ticket sales - Avatar also became the best-selling Blu-ray DVD of all time.

The movie earned nine Oscar nominations and won three, and it was named the year's best movie at the Golden Globe Awards.

"We had no higher priority, and can feel no greater joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of 'Avatar.' Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman said in a joint statement.

Cameron promised that the second and third movies would have "self contained" stories that are part of the greater story arc of the Na'vi struggling against humans.
  
Back in August, he said he wanted to direct a sequel and a third film, and that when writing the screenplay, he would write two different movies at the same time.

Production is scheduled to begin in 2011.

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