With movie audiences flocking to sequels and shunning big-budget original material, James Cameron and 20th Century Fox announced Thursday that they now plan to make three, rather than two, sequels to Avatar. They will be taking their time. Although production of all three films is due to begin next year, the companies said that the first sequel won't hit the screens until December 2017, with another following a year later and the third a year after that. The final film will also mark the tenth anniversary of the original, which has taken in some $2.8 billion worldwide since its release on December 18, 2009. In a statement Cameron said: Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I've come to realize that Avatar's world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen.