Oscar-winning lensman James Cameron has agreed to direct back-to-back sequels to his sci-fi epic Avatar, Twentieth Century Fox Films confirmed on Wednesday.
Cameron, who had been enticed by other projects such as a Cleopatra remake starring Angelina Jolie, in recent months will instead making taking fans back to Pandora his top priority, the studio says.
“With two new films on the drawing boards, my company and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox,” the acclaimed director reports. “Our goal is to meet and exceed the global audience’s expectations for the richness of Avatar’s visual world and the power of the storytelling.”
Cameron will begin work on the scripts early next year with production scheduled to get underway by late-2011.
“In the second and third films, which will be self contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of Avatar’s visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world,” Cameron continued. “I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”
Avatar — featuring some of the most cutting edge technology in film today — opened in theaters in Nov. 2009 and by early 2010 had already managed to surpass another Cameron classic, Titanic, as the highest- grossing film in cinema history. The movie, which has earned 2.8 billion at the international box office to date, also earned three Academy Awards and became the best-selling Blu-ray of all time.
A new collector’s edition of Avatar on Blu-ray is set for release next month.
Avatar 2 will be released in Dec. 2014, followed by Avatar 3 in Dec. 2015.