LAS VEGAS — The world of Pandora is sticking around for the long haul.
On Thursday, “Avatar” creator and director James Cameron announced that there will be four additional films to the sci-fi franchise, with the fifth installment premiering in 2023.
“There was too much story,” Cameron told CinemaCon attendees here of his reason for adding additional films to the 20th Century Fox franchise. “As the writing process has continued ... it's not three. It looks like four.”
Cameron said the scripts are nearly complete and he’s been working alongside four “top screenwriters,” as well as artists and designers, to create “the world of Avatar going forward.”
For those hoping the new installment will live up to the 2009 original, the 61-year-old filmmaker teased that the forthcoming movies are “beyond the first film” and will help create a “true epic saga.”
Each film will stand alone but will be part of one story as part of a “massive cinematic project.” The sophomore installment is due to premiere in theaters during the 2018 holiday season, with sequels following in the later halves of 2020, 2022 and 2023.
While moviegoers will have to wait quite some time until they see “Avatar” return to theaters, fans only have just one year until the film is brought to life in Walt Disney World. The huge Florida resort will unveil an area dedicated to the films at the Animal Kingdom park in 2017. Cameron gushed about Disney's plan, calling what he's seen of the park so far “beyond” what he could have imagined.
Cameron’s “Avatar” premiered in 2009 and grossed more than $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office. The epic earned six Academy Awards nominations the following year, including best picture, and three wins for its visual effects, cinematography and art direction.