In 2009, James Cameron came out with his biggest hit to date with Avatar, which went on to break box office records. The director will continue the story he began nearly seven years ago with four sequel films. Now after his appearance in CinemaCon, the director has confirmed that all four Avatar sequels will be shot concurrently as "one big production."
Recently, James Cameron confirmed at CinemaCon in Las Vegas that he plans to make four more Avatar films with the first sequel to be released in 2018 and the fifth Avatar movie to be released in 2023. As the worldwide highest-grossing film of all time and the second highest domestic gross (just behind The Force Awakens), Avatar stands as one of James Cameron’s most ambitious projects and made waves with its use of CGI.
Talking with Famous Monsters of Filmland, Cameron explains the process of shooting all four Avatar sequels at once:
“It’s not back-to-back. It’s really all one big production. It’s more the way you would shoot a miniseries. So we’ll be shooting across all [AVATAR scripts] simultaneously. So Monday I might be doing a scene from Movie Four, and Tuesday I’m doing a scene from Movie One. … We’re working across, essentially, eight hours of story. It’s going to be a big challenge to keep it all fixed in our minds, exactly where we are, across that story arc at any given point. It’s going to be probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m sure the actors will be challenged by that as well. It’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, this person hasn’t died yet, so you’re still in this phase of your life.’ It’s a saga. It’s like doing all three GODFATHER films at the same time.”
While Cameron is taking a big step by filming all four Avatar movies concurrently, he makes no mistake in trying to compete with the Star Wars franchise:
“My original plan was to release them a year apart, but we’re opening that up. If for no other reason than that I don’t want to land on the same date as one of the STAR WARS sequels. That wouldn’t be fair to them. [Laughs] No, that’s just good business. I don’t want to go head-to-head with STAR WARS. That would be stupid. And hopefully they won’t want to go head to head with us.”
James Cameron’s approach to shooting four Avatar sequels is similar to the method Peter Jackson approached for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Regardless, to film four movies at once is still a huge undertaking for a director and will test how Cameron tells a story between five films. Also, considering that the production for the four movies will take many years, could that affect the availability of the first film’s stars, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington? Even Cameron admits that this will be a big challenge for both himself and the actors in the sequels, which could cause problems for the production. However, if anyone is to take on a big and ambitious project like this, it’s going to be James Cameron.
Avatar 2 is expected to reach theaters in December 2018, followed by Avatar 3 in December 2020, Avatar 4 in December 2022, and Avatar 5 in December 2023.
Source: Famous Monsters of Filmland