‘Avatar 2’: the riskiest Hollywood movie of all time


Release dates for many Hollywood films have bounced off the schedule as the coronavirus continues to rage across the planet, leaving many theaters closed. Some titles have gone for a new month, only to see that release plan come undone, while a batch of titles – including Fast and Furious 9, Venom 2 and Ghostbusters: the afterlife – have moved to next year.Oddly enough, however, the most delayed film of all time – Avatar 2 – is still on track to open in December 2021.

After the production of writer-director James Cameron’s long-running sequel stopped in March, filming resumed in New Zealand last month. At the end of May, producer Jon Landau posted a photo on Instagram that gave a preview of the film’s setting.

“Our Avatar sets are ready – and we couldn’t be more excited to return to New Zealand next week,” Landau wrote, also sharing a photo of two waterboats used in the movies. “Check out the Matador, a high speed command ship (bottom) and the Picador jetboat (top) – I can’t wait to share more.”

The original film, released in 2009, followed the story of crippled sailor Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who falls for a blue-skinned alien warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) while on a mining mission to the planet Pandora.

Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi and Stephen Lang also appeared in the epic sci-fi drama, which until last year was the highest-grossing film of all time, racking up $ 2.78 billion in global box office.

With a rumored price of around $ 300 million, the first Avatar was one of the riskiest film productions of all time. But by exploiting 3D technology and large format IMAX screens, high-end fantasy was an essential theatrical experience, much like Cameron’s romantic drama in 2007, Titanic.

Left to right: Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake (Sam Worthington) in a scene from The Avatar from 2009.

20th Century Fox

Shortly after its release, Cameron, 65, was already talking about a trilogy of Avatar films, and in an alternate reality the sequel, with follow-up, would have already been in theaters.

Cameron, who also directed the first two Terminator movies, Aliens and The abyss, announced plans for Avatar 2 and 3 in 2010 with 2014 and 2015 as release dates. With the filming of the sequels delayed, the Oscar winner has started talking about adding fourth and fifth installments. As these years became more and more unrealistic, new dates were circled on the calendar, which were again changed. In 2017, a 12-acre lot based on the planet depicted in the film was opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

“Literally a dream has come true,” said Ontario-born Cameron at the opening.

Finally, after a series of delays, 20th Century Fox has scheduled the release of Avatar 2 for December 17, 2021. Three more Avatar films will follow in 2023, 2025 and 2027. Production began in 2017 with Deadline to set the cost of the shoot at $ 1 billion, a huge risk for Disney, which acquired Fox last year.

But many industry analysts think it’s unwise to bet against Cameron – whose films grossed $ 6.14 billion at the global box office.

“What he’s going to do with the underwater footage Avatar 2 will wow people … Just for the sake of curiosity (this movie) is going to make $ 1 billion, “said Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations at CNBC last year.

During a 2018 press event to promote their documentary show AMC, AMC Visionaries: James Cameron’s story on science fiction, teased how his sequels could unfold in a way that would echo a gangster classic.

“I found myself a father of five, starting to think about what would be a Avatar story be as if it was a family drama, if it was The GodfatherSaid Cameron. “Obviously a very different genre, but the idea intrigued me. So, this is really it. It’s a generational family saga. And it’s very different from the first movie. Now it’s the same type of decor, and there is the same respect for the shock of the new, that we want to show you things that not only have you not seen, but you have not imagined. I think this is absolutely essential. But the story is very different. It’s a continuation of the same characters, but what happens when warriors who are ready to commit suicide and jump off cliffs on the backs of big orange toruks, what happens when they grow up and have their own children? It becomes a very different story. Now children are the risk takers and the change makers. So it’s interesting, but it makes sense to me. Everyone is either a parent, or at least they have parents, and if you look at the big franchises that are successful now, they are hardly interested.

The stars of the first film, including Worthington, Weaver, Saldana and Stephen Lang, will be joined by newcomers including Vin Diesel, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet, who starred in Cameron’s Titanic. Avatar 2 will also feature seven young cast members. “They represent the future generation of Pandora and play a very important role – not only in this film but in all films,” said Landau THAT ONE in 2017.

“I am in the final stages of filming live through 2, 3 and the first part of 4“Said Cameron to the Soleil in a telephone interview from New Zealand last year. “I” work mainly with a young actor named Jack Champion, who is a human character with a band of Na’vi. He actually does his part twice. He did all of the capture (on the move) with Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington and the other capture actors we filmed with in Los Angeles, and now he has to do his parts live. “

Director James Cameron poses for a portrait in Manhattan Beach, California.

Lucy Nicholson /


In an interview with Vulture, Cameron revealed that Winslet was excited to participate in the on-water work. “At her peak, I think she held her breath for seven and a half minutes,” he said.

Additional plot details are scarce, other than the first sequel will involve the children of the characters Worthington and Saldana, but Cameron promises that the end result moviegoers will see on screen is nothing short of mind-blowing.

“I process pictures in this world every day and there are days where I look at these pictures and say, ‘This is really amazing,'” Cameron told the Soleil. “I’m not patting myself on the back with that comment. ”

Much of the new Avatar the action will take place underwater, with Cameron using underwater motion capture technology.

“It’s a distillation of some of the best designers in the world and a great distribution,” Cameron said. “But if you’ve got the right script and the right design and you’ve got a great distribution, then it’s just an iterative process to get it all shot and put together.”

Like the 2009 original, it promises a thrilling adventure that will once again push the boundaries of technological innovation and re-establish 3D cinema as a viable tool for top-level filmmakers.

“It will be in 3D and at selective high frame rates in some sections,” Camron said. “We choose them as we go. Everything will be projected at a high frame rate, but it will not necessarily be displayed that way. It’s a bit complicated, but the projectors have to run at 24 or 48 fps – you have to choose – we’re shooting at 48. But a lot of it will be rendered at 24 fps. I tried to explain this before, and people somehow get it and don’t get it. All I can say is that it will be transparent. But I’m not touting it as a whole new format. ”

In January, Cameron offered a new glimpse into the new world he envisioned when he unveiled concept art at CES in Las Vegas that showed more of the film’s set. The images, which were also shared online, gave us a glimpse of new island landscapes, lush vegetation and new aquatic creatures.

The new tropical decor and creatures of Avatar 2 were revealed in the concept arts released earlier this year.

20th Century Fox

“You’re not just going back to Pandora – you’ll be exploring new parts of the world,” a tweet from the film’s official social media reads.

Mercedes-Benz, inspired by the bold leadership of Avatar, has developed a futuristic car concept in collaboration with Cameron, who teased the new movie will feature new ships.

A view of the cockpit of the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept car, inspired by the Avatar films, during a Daimler keynote address at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

Steve Marcus / REUTERS

“I also like difficult things. Vehicles, spaceships, planes, ground vehicles, weapons, equipment. I’m a real geek when it comes to this stuff, ”Cameron said in an interview with CNET’s Roadshow. “We have a lot of cool vehicles for you. ”

Elsewhere, previous glimpses of the film boasted of watching the Sea Dragon, which is described as “a huge mothership that carries a range of other sea ships”.

When the Soleil spoke to Cameron he was promoting Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth entry in the sci-fi series he started in 1984. Cameron returned to the franchise with the idea of ​​guiding in a new trilogy focused on futuristic artificial intelligence that he had envisioned ago 36 years. This film disappointed at the box office and further installments are unlikely.

But it is also good. Cameron’s work on the new Avatar films will occupy it for the next seven years. Yet, with the release of each new film, he will experience the same emotions as when he started as a filmmaker four decades ago.

“I believe in the sacredness of this moment when you are sitting in the dark and then something appears on the screen that takes you on a mad rush and an adventure,” he remarked. “This is what I hope Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. So far, things are looking great; you just have to wait.

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