Fox have moved James Cameron's new movie AVATAR's release date back to December 18th 2009.

That is the same pre-Christmas weekend on which TITANIC was released in 1997.

So far Avatar is the only film scheduled for that release date.

According to film magazine Empire, the movie has been put back to allow Cameron more time to work on the "incredibly complex" post-production of the movie.

This means that the film will have 18 months worth of post-production work.

Reuters claims that by waiting until December, the 3-D movie will be able to take advantage of a growing number of 3-D cinema screens.

Current estimates suggest that there will be 4,000 3-D screens in place throughout the US by May 2009.

There are no firm estimates for how many will be available in Europe and Asia.

The $200 million (£97.8 million) film features 12 computer generated characters and charts a band of humans struggling to survive against a planets indigenous inhabitants.

It stars Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi and Michelle Rodriguez.

Speaking to Hollywood Reporter about the film, Cameron said: "My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt when we first saw 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, or the next generation's Star Wars.

"It took me 10 years to find something hard enough to be interesting."

He added that if he could pull it off AVATAR would be "the coolest film ever made".

Speaking to Variety, Jim Gianopoulos, co-chairman of Fox, stated that the advantage of 3-D movies is that they "pull the audience in".

According to the magazine, Cameron reportedly waited so long to make another film after TITANIC because he wanted to make his next project in 3-D and had to wait for the technology to catch up.

12/12/2007 11:45:39