Yesterday we got a bit of an update on the long-promised sequels to writer/director James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar, but it turns out there’s much more to the story. Cameron has been working on two follow-up films to the sci-fi pic over the last four years, with an eye towards filming both Avatar 2 and 3 at the same time and then releasing the sequels a year apart. While last we heard Cameron was holed up in New Zealand finalizing the scripts for the sequels, news broke yesterday that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman had been enlisted to pitch in on the screenplay for Avatar 2. It just so happens that this was only one third of the story, as Fox announced today that Cameron has actually enlisted the help of four screenwriters to collaborate with him on the screenplays for not only Avatar 2 and 3, but also Avatar 4, with the first sequel poised to hit theaters (finally) in December 2016. Hit the jump for much more.
James Cameron is building momentum on writing the scripts for Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, and while he hasn’t quite cracked the story yet, he knows that some of the second film will take place underwater. While it’s possible to shoot dry-for-wet, it’s not entirely convincing, and as we all know, Cameron loves a technological challenge. Speaking to the NAB Technology Summit on Cinema [via Empire], Avatar producer Jon Landau revealed that “We have kept a team of digital artists on from Avatar in order to test how we can create performance capture underwater. We could simulate water [in CG], but we can’t simulate the actor’s experience, so we are going to capture performance in a tank.”
Landau didn’t provide any further details on the development of that process, but did add that Avatar 2 and 3, which will shoot back-to-back, will wrap up the story of Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). This falls in line with Cameron’s comments from last September where he said he wanted a fourth Avatar movie, but it would be a prequel.
Though James Cameron’s been busy searching the seas lately, he’ll soon be turning his attention (we think) to the long-promised Avatar sequels. He will be directing Avatar 2 and 3 back-to-back, but it appears that he’s already selected his post-Avatar project. It was announced today that Lightstorm Entertainment has acquired the rights to Taylor Stevens’ 2011 novel The Informationist for Cameron to direct and produce, with Lightstorm partner Jon Landau also producing.
The story centers on an information specialist who is hired by a Texas oil billionaire to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. The specialist finds herself “back in the lands of her childhood,” where she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried to forget. Landau describes the character as “a mix between Lisbeth Salander and Jason Bourne.” Hit the jump for more.
There’s been a lot of talk out of the Avatar camp lately: producer Jon Landau talking about the progress of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, plus James Cameron revealing Avatar 4 would be a prequel. But what happens after those films are wrapped up within the next few years? As we posted previously, it appears that Landau and Cameron’s next film in the line-up is still expected to be Battle Angel, an adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga, Battle Angel Alita. The story follows a scientist who discovers an android in a junkyard. He brings her back to life, patches her up and raises her as a daughter. Then, the two cavort on bounty hunting adventures. Cameron’s passion for the project is well-documented, but fans will likely have to wait until 2017 at the earliest to see Battle Angel on screen. Hit the jump to see what Landau had to say about the project.
Jon Landau, a longtime collaborator with James Cameron, recently spoke about the progress of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, but now we have an idea of what the fourth film will be. From Cameron himself comes word that Avatar 4 will likely be a prequel that explores the colonization process of Pandora before the events of Avatar. While the creative team is still working on the scripts for the two sequels, Cameron admits he has not yet put pen to paper for the prequel, but seems to have the kernel of an idea in mind. Hit the jump to hear what he had to say.
The epic love story Titanic, which earned two billion dollars at the box office and won 11 Academy Awards, is making its highly anticipated debut on Blu-ray, in high definition 2D and 3D, on September 10th. Whether choose the 2D Blu-ray/DVD combo pack or you go for the ultimate experience in immersive 3D, you will get four discs that feature more than two-and-a-half hours of new bonus footage, including an in-depth exploration of the film with James Cameron, documentary footage, 30 deleted scenes, over 60 behind-the-scenes featurettes, more than 2,000 photos, commentaries and more.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, producer and longtime James Cameron collaborator Jon Landau talked about the phenomenal reward of having the hugely successful film also stand the test of time, the biggest way in which Titanic changed his life, what he’s most excited about fans getting to see on the Blu-ray, his favorite deleted scene, and the challenges of post-converting an older movie. He also talked about the possibility of converting Terminator 2 and Aliens to 3D, how he feels about 48 frames per second and the future of projection, the current status of the release date and scripts for more Avatar films, the recent advances in technology that he’s most looking forward to incorporating into future movies, 3D as the future of home entertainment, and the most rewarding part of his years of collaboration with Cameron. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
In October 2010, we reported that Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 would be shot back-to-back, and Fox had scheduled the movies for December 2014 and December 2015, respectively. In June 2011, writer-director James Cameron commented that the movies will be from one script, which would make the franchise “not really a trilogy, but just an overall character arc.” But during the recent press rounds for Titanic 3D, producer Jon Landau said it was unlikely that they’ll be able to make the 2014 release date for Avatar 2. He notes that they’re “taking the time to get it right”, and while that sounds like standard producer-speak, he does reminds us that Titanic was originally scheduled for a summer 1997 release, but was pushed back to December so Cameron would have more time to work on the effects.
Hit the jump for more. Titanic 3D opens on Friday.
When James Cameron first announced he’d be post converting Titanic for a 3D re-release in April 2012, I was a bit skeptical. After all, I think most of us can agree that post converted movies are usually substandard to ones being shot in 3D, and since the movie is 15 years old, I figured it would be an insane challenge to get it right. However, earlier today I visited Paramount in Hollywood and got to see about 18 minutes of the converted film on the big screen. So what did I learn?
Never. Ever. Bet against James Cameron.
The footage I saw this morning left me speechless. I’m not joking around when I say it’s the best post conversion I’ve ever seen and it looks like they originally shot it in 3D back in 1997. In addition, Cameron told us before they post converted they created a new 4K master and did a full color correction and cleaned the film. So even if you see the film in 2D or 3D in April, you will not believe how crystal clear the images are and how good the film looks. However, before you start to think Cameron made any changes to the actual film, he told us they are not editing a single scene. He’s not pulling a George Lucas. Hit the jump for more.
Did you ever wonder what it would be like form a lifelong telepathic bond with a flying creature only to ditch it for a bigger and more powerful flying creature? Now you can! Variety reports that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide will create themed lands based on James Cameron’s Avatar. The first theme land will be built at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida. Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will work with Disney’s “Imagineers” to oversee the design and development of the different theme lands. I look forward to “Cramped Trailer with Giant Tanning Beds”-Land.
Construction on the theme lands is scheduled to begin in 2013. As Cameron preps for two Avatar sequels (set for Christmas 2014 and 2015), Imagineers will use the entire trilogy to create the various theme lands. No word yet if one of the parks will offer full-body painting or if the gift shops will sell sex ponytails.
Home Premiere, a Premium VOD service backed by four major studios, is set to launch tomorrow on DirecTV. The service would charge consumers $30 to watch movies only sixty days after they first hit theaters. Theaters, fearing that their revenues will be drastically cut, have responded with threats that range from believable to ridiculous. Now 23 directors and producers, including James Cameron, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, Michael Mann, and Gore Verbinski have released an open letter siding with the theaters.
In the letter, the signers make the point that just because Premium VOD launches at $30, it doesn’t mean it will stay there and it could conceivably drop to $10 within a few year. Hit the jump for the full letter.
Unless you have plans to buy a Panasonic 3D TV, don’t expect to get your hands on a 3D Blu-ray of James Cameron’s record breaking Avatar any time soon. According to Yahoo, Avatar producer Jon Landau has said that whilst there are plans to put an Avatar 3D Blu-ray on the market, they are waiting until 3D technology is commonplace in living rooms nationwide. He expressed caution about rushing the release before the public is ready, an error they made in the past with the release of Titanic on DVD in 1999. Landau said, “We were ahead of the curve on DVD with Titanic and we don’t want to make that mistake again.”
Hit the jump for more on Avatar and why it’s such a pain to sell in 3D.
Despite recent reports that James Cameron was gearing up for a Cleopatra biopic based on Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life with Angelina Jolie in the role of the Queen of the Nile, it has just broke that he has agreed to shoot Avatar 2 and 3 beginning in late 2011 for Twentieth Century Fox, immediately after he wraps up the screenplays, which he intends to write in early 2011 with an eye towards beginning production later that year.
In our first trip to Pandora, we saw ex-marine and paraplegic Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington) integrate himself into the primitive culture of the planet’s blue, tree-dwelling Na’vi and defend their tribal grounds from a mercenary-assisted corporation. The sequels, undoubtedly to be shot natively with the 3D tech developed by Cameron and WETA Digital, are targeted for December 2014 and December 2015 release dates, respectively. Whether the productions will be back-to-back is pending.
Hit the jump for what Cameron and producer Jon Landau had to say on the sequels and a possible explanation as to why Cameron dumped Cleopatra.
20th Century Fox has officially announced the exact specs of the previously announced Avatar Collector’s Edition. Getting released November 15 in the UK and the 16th in the United States (right before Black Friday), the three-disc collectors set is absolutely loaded with over eight hours of never before seen material. If you’re a fan of Avatar, this is a must buy box set. According to the UK press release:
The three-disc Avatar Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and Avatar Collector’s Edition DVD will both feature the original theatrical release, a special edition re-release, and new collector’s extended cut with over 15 more minutes including an exclusive alternate opening earth scene. Viewers will have the ability to journey to the far-reaches of Pandora with “Capturing Avatar“ an in-depth feature length documentary covering the 16-year filmmaker journey that includes all new interviews with James Cameron, Jon Landau and cast and crew exploring Cameron’s unique vision for the film.
The box set also comes with 45 minutes of new never-before-seen deleted scenes. This is the part that most interests me. Hit the jump for high res cover art and more details:
If you’re headed to the theater this weekend to see James Cameron’s Avatar: Special Edition with its whopping 8 ½ extra minutes of footage, then hold on to your banshee (until you ditch it for a Great Leonopteryx) because the special edition DVD and Blu-ray is going to have 16 minutes of additional footage. THR reports that the new scenes will “involve action sequences and narrative-deepening extensions of key scenes involving the blue-skinned Na’vi of Pandora and their human visitors.” Said producer Jon Landau, “There’s a whole new scene that takes place in the (Na’vi) school, there’s more night bioluminescence, there’s new creatures, and there is a new action scene. The scenes don’t just feel like added scenes — they are very organic to the story and embellish it.” Unfortunately, producer Landau doesn’t add, “Oh, and ponytail fucking. Lots and lots of ponytail fucking.”
Avatar set DVD and Blu-ray sales records when the bare-bones release hits shelves in April. The special edition DVD and Blu-ray are set to be released this November. The 3D Blu-ray is being held until 2011 because Fox and Cameron want to wait until more households have 3DTVs.
Recently James Cameron went to Brazil as a guest speaker at the 1º Internacional Forum of Environmental Sustainability at Manaus, capital of the Brazilian state of Amazon – where most of the Brazilian rainforest is located. The positive experience motivated Cameron to do a second visit to the country. He asked Fox to do a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil´s largest city, to release Avatar in DVD and Blu-ray.
Travelling with the producer Jon Landau, the actress Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine) and the actor Joel David Moore (Norm Spellman), Cameron arrived last Saturday. After planting a tree in a local park, a symbolic gesture that started a Fox campaign – the company will plant 1 million trees around the world until the end of the year – he sat down with the local press. After the jump are some highlights from the press conference. He talked about Avatar 2, the Avatar Blu-ray, and more.