Film fans awaiting an Avatar Christmas in 2018 have had their hopes dashed by director James Cameron, who insists the proposed release date "is not happening".
Cameron's 2009 sci-fi epic, which starred Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, remains the highest-grossing movie in box office history, banking $2.78 billion worldwide, but fans had to continue waiting for more of the fantasy blockbuster, after the release of Avatar 2 was postponed from its initial December, 2014 release date to late 2016, and then to the end of 2017.
It was pushed back again last year (16), when Cameron appeared at the Las Vegas CinemaCon event and announced all four planned sequels would be shot back-to-back, with the first follow-up hitting cinemas in December, 2018.
However, it appears that release schedule has since been axed, and now Cameron insists there is no launch date, as yet, for Avatar 2.
"Well, 2018 is not happening. We haven't announced a firm release date," he tells The Toronto Star. "What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So, we're not making Avatar 2 - we're making Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5. It's an epic undertaking..."
The 62-year-old admits completing filming for the whole project will take quite some time, but he cannot wait to get started.
"I know where I'm going to be for the next eight years of my life," he says. "It's not an unreasonable time frame if you think about it. It took us four-and-a-half years to make one movie (2009's Avatar) and now we're making four. We're full tilt boogie (fully focused) right now. This is my day job and pretty soon we'll be 24-7. We're pretty well designed on all our creatures and sets."
The final three films had been expected to hit cinemas in December 2020, 2022, and 2023, but it is not known if the delay in production will affect those projected dates.
Despite the continued setbacks, Cameron assures fans the long wait will be worth it.
"It's pretty exciting stuff. I wish I could share with the world," he smiles. "But we have to preserve a certain amount of showmanship and we're going to draw that curtain when the time is right."
In the meantime, Cameron has urged devotees to check out the new Pandora: The World of Avatar attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida once it opens in May (17).
The new land, located in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, will give visitors a complete sensory experience as they explore Cameron's Avatar world in person, and the filmmaker recently admitted seeing his ideas brought to life for the attraction has been "a bit of a trip".
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