James Cameron has recently announced that all three Avatar sequels will be filmed entirely in New Zealand, as part of a major new agreement that will see hundreds of jobs created and a major financial injection into the New Zealand film industry. Cameron made the statement alongside NZ Prime Minister John Key.
There are many stipulations for Fox and Cameron’s production company, including 90% of the live action crew being nationals and holding an official red carpet premiere in the country. The DVD will also include a feature showcasing how awesome the country is. In return the production will benefit from recently introduced tax breaks, offering up to 25% relief.
Avatar 2, 3, & 4 will begin shooting next year, with a planned release in December 2016, 2017 and 2018 – mirroring the production and release strategy of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.
Avatar (2009) was a recording-breaking epic, and very much the ambassador for 3D technology. It remains the highest grossing movie of all time and was nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture. It lost this and Best Director to Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, picking up three Oscars including Visual Effects. Will the sequels do any good? History would predict not, but if Lord of the Rings is anything to go by, popular franchises with enough clout behind them can build enough buzz, so only time will tell.