Three new “Avatar” flicks are on the horizon for Canadian film director James Cameron, and all three are to be shot in New Zealand.
Cameron made the announcement, with New Zealand’s prime minister John Key, at a press conference in Wellington, announcing the tentative release dates of 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Under an agreement between the New Zealand Government, Fox and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, at least $NZ500 million will be spent in the country during production.
A memorandum declares that hundreds of jobs for New Zealanders will be created (90% of the live action crew, to be exact), support will be provided to an internship program, at least one official red carpet premiere will take place in New Zealand and all DVDs and Blu Rays will include a featurette on the country.
“The ‘Avatar’ sequels will provide hundreds of jobs and thousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as well as jobs right across the economy,” said Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce in a statement.
Furthermore, the memorandum says that Cameron and “Avatar” producer Jon Landau will become the founding members of a new screen advisory board which will provide guidance and advice to New Zealand filmmakers looking to succeed internationally.
In return, 20th Century Fox will receive an increased film industry tax rebate of 25%.
“New Zealand offers unparalleled support to films of this scale,” said Paul Hanneman, co-president of Fox’s worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution.
The first “Avatar” film, released in 2009, was shot in Los Angeles and New Zealand and grossed a whopping $2.78 billion worldwide. Also shot in New Zealand recently were Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” films, which also grossed highly, the first raking in more than $1 billion.
Cameron announced the “Avatar” sequels in August, with star Sam Worthington later stating that he believed production would be underway on the sequel by next October.