Cameron Cuts Deal for 'Avatar' 2 & 3

 avatar-cameronAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, James Cameron has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox to make AVATAR 2 and 3. 
Production should start in 2011 for premeires in December 2014 and December 2015 in mind. Fox and James Cameron released a statement in which the director said: 

“It is a rare and remarkable opportunity when a filmmaker gets to build a fantasy world, and watch it grow, with the resources and partnership of a global media company. AVATAR was conceived as an epic work of fantasy—a world that audiences could visit, across all media platforms, and this moment marks the launch of the next phase of that world.
With two new films on the drawing boards, my company (Lightstorm Entertainment) and I are embarking on an epic journey with our partners at Twentieth Century Fox. 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.
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. I’m looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild.”

Battle Angel Next for Cameron?

Frame from the Battle Angel Alita manga
Frame from the Battle Angel Alita manga

According to Sci-Fi Wire James Cameron (ALIENS, AVATAR) is hard at work on his adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga, BATTLE ANGEL ALITA, and it may be his next directorial project. He detailed his plans for the film at yesterday’s Earth Day ceremony at 20th Century Fox Studios which marked the debut of the AVATAR Blu-ray and DVD release.

The BATTLE ANGEL ALITA series is set in the future and focuses on Alita, a cyborg who has lost all her memories and is found in a garbage heap by a cybernetics doctor who rebuilds her. She discovers that there is one thing she remembers, the legendary cyborg martial art, ‘Panzer Kunst’, which leads to her becoming a bounty hunter. Cameron has been planning a film version for years now but it sounds as if the project is finally coming closer to fruition. Speaking about ALITA Cameron said,

“I just love the character. Maybe it’s from having daughters. I have three daughters, and thinking about what it’s like, the main character is this little girl that everybody kind of ignores. She’s got such a heroic heart on the inside, I’ve always loved that character”.

Cameron, speaking about AVATAR 2, also states that,

“Look, Avatar 2 is going to get made. It’s a question of is it the next film or is there something else in between. I haven’t made that decision yet.”

Fox Film Entertainment co-chairman and chief executive officer Tom Rothman says he doesn’t mind whether Cameron decides to made AVATAR 2 or ALITA next,

“My preference is only that he makes another great movie for us. We’ve seen a lot of the stuff on Battle Angel over the last year, so we’re very fired up about it. Look, James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have been in business together for over 25 years, one of the most successful partnerships in the history of the movie business, so that’s something obviously that will continue”.

From the sounds of these interviews it’s highly likely Cameron will make ALITA his top priority post-AVATAR; the studio have no preference and he still sounds very involved in the project. The real question is, should he? Although Cameron clearly has a passion for the source material I have doubts as to whether he’ll deliver a faithful adaptation or instead tone down the manga’s violence, change the age of the heroine and make it more of a family film. Neither of his last two films (TITANIC and AVATAR) have particularly impressed me and it seems his days of edgier sci-fi are behind him.
What do you think, is Cameron the man for an ALITA adaptation or should he stick with the Na’vi instead?

Cameron Talks Avatar 2 Ideas

Director James Cameron
Director James Cameron

The LA Times have been talking to James Cameron (AVATAR, ALIENS) on the eve of the AVATAR DVD release, due to hit shelves tomorrow (which also happens to be international Earth Day). During the interview Cameron lets some vital AVATAR  sequel plot details slip and confirms the theatrical re-release of AVATAR is arriving this summer.

Cameron on his plans for an AVATAR trilogy,

“We created a broad canvas for the environment of [the] film. That’s not just on Pandora, but throughout the Alpha Centauri AB system. And we expand out across that system and incorporate more into the story – not necessarily in the second film, but more toward a third film. Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment – a different setting within Pandora. And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rainforest”.

This is an interesting approach for a sequel to take and could even better the visual beauty on display in the original film. It should also be a good fit for Cameron as the director has been obsessed with the ocean throughout his career, having extensively dealt with the aquatic in films such as THE ABYSS, TITANIC and ALIENS OF THE DEEP. He also spoke about his plans to shorten production time for the sequels,

“The challenge on the next Avatar is to do what we did before at half the price and in half the time. Again, that’s an impossible goal, we won’t accomplish that, but if we can reduce by 25% in both categories, we’ll have really accomplished something.”

Cameron is well known as a man who likes a challenge and reducing his budget and production time by half, or even a quarter, would be very hard task for films of this scale. If he manages to pull it off it’d be very impressed. On the planned re-release of AVATAR,

“We’re working on finishing an additional six minutes of the film – which includes a lot of Weta work – for a theatrical re-release in August. We were sold out of our Imax performances right up to the moment until they were contractually obligated to switch to Alice In Wonderland, so we know we left money on the table there.”

This news, on the other hand, is far less encouraging. Does AVATAR really need a re-release? And all for the sake of just six extra minutes of running time? This seems like a pointless exercise in making yet more money from the film to me, and it suggests Cameron is getting rather greedy in his old age.
Both AVATAR sequels are a long way off yet but stay tuned into Cinefantastique Online for all updates on the world of Pandora.

“We’re working on finishing an additional six minutes of the film – which includes a lot of Weta work – for a theatrical re-release in August. We were sold out of our Imax performances right up to the moment until they were contractually obligated to switch to Alice In Wonderland, so we know we left money on the table there.”