In between swimming in his Scrooge McDuck sized pool of Avatar money and deep sea voyages to the bottom of the sea, James Cameron still manages to be one busy man. Having openly said that he’s purely into making movies about tall blue cat creatures from now on, the director was originally set to have Avatar 2: Underwater Boogaloo (title pending) ready for theaters by December 2014.
Yeah… that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Avatar star Sigourney Weaver has said that Cameron has planned to shoot up to threeAvatar movies back-to-back-to-back, but according to producer Jon Landau’s assessment it’s not going to occur in the timeline 20th Century Fox has set. Even simply trying to keep his budget as low as possible and handle any future scheduling conflicts that could crop up for the actors between breaks in filming, the schedule that’s set isn’t managable. So according to Landau, the tentative 2014 date from Fox is going to be more like 2015.
That means no more Pandora for another 3 years. But at least there’s some progress.
An article from the New York Times has detailed Cameron’s $16 million purchase of 2,500 acres of farmland around Lake Pounui in New Zealand. That’s Peter Jackson‘s backyard and home to Jackson’s Wellington production studios. So there could be a partnership between the two for what could be Cameron’s new shootng location for the next several years. Even with the three year delay, you’ve got to respect what the man is doing with all this preparation.
From his army of digital effects wizards and his custom 3D technology – as well as the $2.7 billion and 3 Oscars – the man deserves to pace his schedule. How do you feel about the wait? Is it just or is Cameron once again doing as he pleases?
Forever (it seems), we’ve been talking about James Cameron making two sequels back-to-back to his mega-blockbuster Avatar, which made, if you’ll recall, almost $3 billion worldwide. But something curious has occurred now, the possibility of not one, not two, but three Avatar sequels shot back-to-back-to-back. The source is Sigourney Weaver, and while talking to Showbiz 411 about her new show Political Animals, she accidentally (on purpose?) let it slip that she just might be going back to Pandora to make three Avatar sequels, which is all the more impressive given that he character died in part one.
Here’s the news from Showbiz 411:
When Political Animals finishes shooting, see if you can follow Weaver’s schedule: she goes right into a new Christopher Durang play for a short run at Lincoln Center. Then she films Avatar 2, 3, and 4 with James Cameron. That’s right: they’re making three sequels to the blue 3D phenom all at the same time. Weaver says she has no idea how long it will take, or how it’s going to work. “I just show up,” she said.
No word on when these movies are actually going to begin filming. Earlier this year, Cameron himself confirmed that the logistics for the films had been finished and they were about to get into the actual design work. Needless to say the original release date of December 2013 will not be met.
Man, these internet parody videos are getting weird. Have you seen the one about the night club in South Africa that’s based on James Cameron‘s megablockbuster Avatar? Hilarious! They have an over the top club promoter/mafioso and everything…
What? It’s REAL?!?!?
Apparently some South African Soprano extra by the name of Mike Basson has opened up a club in Rivonia called Avastar. This Avatar themed club recreates the world of the Na’Vi with fog machines and lasers and flamethrowers and more crappy topples blue cat elf pictures than your average furry’s hard drive. I’m guessing the bouncers are also instructed to punch you in the face repeatedly to give you that 2 and a half hour 3D movie headache to complete the experience.
Even if you ARE an Avatar fan, you have to admit, this place looks and sounds ridiculous. See for yourself, the promotional video is up after the jump.
Last weekend, Marvel’s The Avengers became the third highest grossing film of all time at the domestic box office; the only one standing in its way from complete box office dominance is James Cameron and his one-two punch of Avatar and Titanic. And while The Avengers has shattered a number of box office records, including some previously held by Avatar, having just made $11.2 million last weekend in fifth place and with increasing competition from summer new releases, it’s increasingly, seemingly, unlikely that The Avengers will catch Titanic’s $658.7 million domestic grab.
That’s right, Marvel’s hatching a plan to give The Avengers one last push at the end of summer for the all time box office crown. According to SuperHeroAuthority.com, Marvel is planning a release of The Avengers: The Director’s Cut sometime before Labor Day in the dog days of August. As previously reported, director Joss Whedon has said that there’s about 30 minutes of cut footage from the film that was to originally appear on the film’s Blu-ray release in September. If this plan goes forward, the director’s cut of The Avengers will bow at the box office and collect some extra coin for the coffers and give a pretty handy promotion for September’s DVD release.
But the question is, will it work? As of last weekend, The Avengers stands at $572.3 million, which is $86.4 million short of Titanic’s total haul, and $188.2 million short of Avatar’s total box office take of $760.5 million. So while it’s conceivable that The Avengers could at least catch Titanic, The Avengers would have to add another $200 million to the bank to do better than Avatar, which seems less likely.
What do you Bastards think? Would you check out an Avengers Director’s Cut in theaters, or all you all Avengered out?
It was reported a while ago that James Cameron intends to pick up the film adaptation for Battle Angel Alita once he’s finished with the Avatar trilogy. He was quoted by New York Times to have said that he’s “in the Avatar business. Period”, and has no intention of taking any other projects while he’s working on the trilogy, and that comment has that led to some skepticism about the fate of the back seat project.
Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News was able to get in touch with Cameron (or his people, who knows) to clear the air and ease some fans’ minds who had their panties in a twist wondering what will happen to Battle Angel and who would take on the project if Cameron decided to let it go.
This was his succinct, but informative, response:
No. I still love that project. But Battle Angel is not going to happen for a few years.
Who knows if Avatar will end up spanning across 42 films and we’ll be absolutely sick of it after the first handful and so “a few years” really means “a few decades”, or if he’ll actually get right on to Battle Angel after three more visits to Pandora.
This answer will hopefully straighten out some panties out there for the time being.
Making movies take a lot of time. A big Hollywood Summer Blockbuster filled with tons of CGI and Effects takes even longer. It’s not much of a surprise that James Cameron said the following while talking with the New York Times:
“I’ve divided my time over the last 16 years over deep ocean exploration and filmmaking. I’ve made two movies in 16 years, and I’ve done eight expeditions. Last year I basically completely disbanded my production company’s development arm. So I’m not interested in developing anything. I’m in the “Avatar” business. Period. That’s it. I’m making “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 3,” maybe “Avatar 4,” and I’m not going to produce other people’s movies for them. I’m not interested in taking scripts. And that all sounds I suppose a little bit restricted, but the point is I think within the “Avatar” landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way. And anything I can’t say in that area, I want to say through documentaries, which I’m continuing. I’ve done five documentaries in the last 10 years, and I’ll hopefully do a lot more.”
That pretty much kills many aspiring script writers, directors, and other Hollywood dreamers pinning their hopes on handing Cameron a script while he’s trapped at the restaurant’s bathroom urinal or slipping a film treatment into Cameron’s grocery bag. Cameron went on to give us an update on how “The Avatar” business is going these days.
“We’ve spent the last year and a half on software development and pipeline development. The virtual production methodology was extremely prototypical on the first film. As then, no one had ever done it before and we didn’t even know for two and half years into it and $100 million into it if it was going to work. So we just wanted to make our lives a whole lot easier so that we can spend a little more of our brainpower on creativity. It was a very, very uphill battle on the first film. So we’ve been mostly working on the tool set, the production pipeline, setting up the new stages in Los Angeles, setting up the new visual effects pipeline in New Zealand, that sort of thing. And, by the way, writing. We haven’t gotten to the design stage yet. That’ll be the next.”
A year and a half on software development . . . Cameron is 57 years old. With medical technology today and his enormous wealth he can expect to live a long productive rest of his life. Will Cameron never do another film that is not about Avatar? For now he wants his plate clear with no distractions, but after Avatar 4 who can really say? If anything, Hollywood has time and time again proven that something new can capture a producer or director’s imagination and change any of their carefully laid plans.
A character actor known for his gruff and authoritarian characters, Stephen Lang stepped away from looking menacing in front of a green screen to talk to a gaggle of reporters on Tuesday and I had the pleasure of being in on the call. I asked Lang‘s about his knack for choosing those previously mentioned authoritarian roles, how he navigates through effects laden projects, his future, and because I’m a lovable scallywag, I asked him about the semi-beloved but now cancelled Terra Nova… which went… un-well.
Nerd Bastards: After some of the effects-heavy work in Avatar, Conan, and Terra Nova — is it a nice change to, sort of, come in from the jungle and do something a little more grounded in reality (In Plain Sight)?
Stephen Lang: Well the first thing I did when I got out there, I said, “Excuse me, where’s the green screen? I can’t work without a green screen.” No, it was nice to get back into this kind of century for one thing and wear something that wasn’t kind of military, and yes, tell kind of a human story — not that the others aren’t, but you know what I mean — it’s kind of on a different scale — an intimate story. I mean, I know it’s a big show and it’s all about witness protection and everything but, you know, (theirs) a sense of — we’re doing a father and a daughter kind of a reunion show — albbe it not a conventional reunion. And so it was great. It’s good to do it.
Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender have been eagerly awaiting for it’s spin-off series,The Legend of Korra, to hit the boob-tube. Nickelodeon has been telling us it would be released some time in the summer or even early fall. Since that’s too damn long to wait, an announcement was made earlier today on the Korra Tumblr page which surprised everyone. Fans now have less then one month before the newly titled Legend of Korra hits television sets. The premier is schedule for Saturday, April 14th at 11am. Mark your calendar.
Set 70 years after the events of the previous series, this new series follows waterbender Korra, the Avatar after Aang.
Aang, and his descendants, with still play an integral part in the training of Korra as she battles the evil Oman and his league of anti-benders.
I just hope this incarnation offers the same great story telling and thematic elements (no pun indented) as it’s predecessor.
Oi! April can’t come soon enough. Until then, here’s a new trailer to tide us over, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.
There was a time when you needed to create a new type of 3D experience to be successful – and it helps if you happen to be named James Cameron. But James and his space cats can press their lips to the shaft of a n00btube. In just a little over two weeks (16 days to be exact) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 became the fastest selling product to reach the one billion dollar mark.
In the following press release from Activison, Modern Warfare 3 broke the record once held by the 3D overload, Avatar, which previously held the record at 17 days. It only took 24 hours less than that to prove the game’s massive popularity. It sold 6.5 million copies in 24 hours in North America and the UK alone. At about $67 CAD, that’s $435.5 million dollars. Avatar took an entire weekend just to get $77,025,481 domestically.
Here’s the official press release:
Santa Monica, CA- December 12, 2011 – Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare™ 3 crossed the $1 billion mark in sales since its launch on November 8, 2011, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information. Highlighting the trend of interactive entertainment gaining a greater hold of audiences worldwide, the game achieved this milestone in just 16 days, eclipsing the record set in 2009 by the feature film “Avatar,” which reached the $1 billion milestone in 17 days.
While 2011 box office revenue is on the decline – down 4 percent this year at $9.4 billion, compared with $9.8 billion in 2010 — the number of people purchasing and participating in gaming is on the rise, with no sign of slowing.¹ With more than 30 million gamers, the Call of Duty community now exceeds the combined populations of the cities of New York, London, Tokyo, Paris and Madrid.
¹According to boxofficemojo.com and PricewaterhouseCoopers’Global Entertainment and Media Outlook
Engagement of our Call of Duty audience continues to rise around the world,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.
Call of Duty® as an entertainment franchise has made an indelible mark on popular culture and its broad and continued success is further validation that audiences are now valuing interactive experiences over passive experiences.
Call of Duty is now amongst that rarified group of sustained franchises like “Star Wars”, “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings” and the National Football League (NFL) that attract or engage tens of millions of people every year or every new release.
Our Call of Duty Elite is one of the fastest growing new online service ever with more than six million players registered since its launch November 8, 2011 and over one million premium subscriptions sold to date. By comparison, the premium subscription services of Netflix, Hulu Plus, Sirius XM and Xbox® LIVE®, each reached one million paid subscribers after approximately one year.
“Call of Duty has become that rare entertainment franchise that transcends its own genre. Core gamers love it, as our stellar reviews show. But every year, new people are drawn into Call of Duty,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “And while the franchise continues to set records, our fans still seem to want more, demonstrated by our record setting start on Call of Duty Elite. We are committed to helping everyone connect, compete and improve their game, Call of Duty style.”
Maybe James has been in the wrong business all along.
James Cameron recently spilled some serious beans about the next two Avatar sequels in an interview ABC’s Nightline. You can watch the video below but here are some featured highlights.
Avatar blew our minds, and the box office, up, what can we expect from the sequels?
It’s on Pandora. Well, I’m really writing the second and third films together, so it completes a kinda three film story arc. And we will see the oceans of Pandora, which we haven’t seen at all and that’s an ecosystem that I’m dying to start designing because it’s going to look spectacular.
[The sequel] narrows the spotlight instead of just nature in general or the rainforest. It focuses it a little more on ocean issues, because we have a planet that’s a blue planet. From a distance, you look at it, the Earth is a lot more blue than it is, you know brown, the land mass. We’re making the oceans unsurvivable for a lot of the species right now. For a lot or reasons. It’s just a way to focus a little energy in that direction.
Avatar: Under the Sea, got it. I thought Home Tree was cool, but I want to see Home Coral, or Home Anemone. Oh! Maybe the lifeforms of the sea will be anthropomorphized clown fish? Whatever it is below Pandora’s waves it’ll be amazing! If Cameron made the plant life literally light up can you imagine how cool the ocean floor will look?
But will the sequel be inundated with even more environmental issues?
I’m not going to become more strident. I’m not going to say, ‘well, we got away with this much environmental content in the first movie, now there’s double.’ Because I think that would be a mistake. It has to be entertainment first and foremost.
Whew! Sigh of relief. If the films become too message heavy I’d fear audiences would stop caring all together. They could also become boring as fuck. Environmental awareness okay, but only in moderation.
The biggest bit Cameron revealed was we’d be seeing other planets in the sequels. Do Na’vi have space ships? I don’t know, but more planets has me intrigued.
I think it’s just a continuation of the same thing. I want people to feel that same sense of excitement about that world. You know, the fictional Na’vi people and I want them to feel that excitement of discovery of a new world that they’re going to see things that they haven’t imagined. All that sort of the perk package of the first movie is still going to be there. And the themes will be there and be played out in a way that I think people can accept.
All right, I’ll admit it, Cameron, you’ve got me pretty excited for the sequels. I really loved Avatar, I completely bought into its re-hashed, Fern Gully message and I adored its visuals. A sequel or two? Oceans and new worlds? Yup, I’m there.
What do you think about what Cameron has revealed about Avatar‘s sequels?