It's been more than a decade since Avatar hit theaters back in December 2009, with James Cameron currently hard at work on the long-awaited sequel. Unfortunately, Avatar 2, as well as the other planned sequels, just hit something of a big snag, as filming in New Zealand has been delayed for an indefinite amount of time. In the meantime, Cameron and his team will be working on the visual effects instead.
The news comes from James Cameron's producing partner Jon Landeau. This is just the latest production to be hit by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has had a massive impact on the entertainment industry as a whole. Landeau, in a recent interview, had this to say about the delay.
"We've delayed it. We had plans to come down Friday night with a group of people and start back up and we made the decision to hold off and continue working here [Los Angeles], and come down there a little bit later than we'd planned."
Originally, James Cameron was working on Avatar 2, as well as Avatar 3, at Fox before the Disney merger went into effect last year. Now, Disney is in control of the franchise moving forward and the Mouse House is fully behind the filmmaker's big-budget sci-fi sequels. Understandably so. Avatar, up until last year, was the highest-grossing movie in history with $2.79 billion at the global box office. Even if the sequels make a fraction of that amount, they will be big moneymakers.
Avengers: Endgame managed to dethrone Avatar, taking in $2.8 billion worldwide. As far as resuming production goes, the coronavirus situation has been evolving day to day, if not minute to minute, making the future impossible to predict. Jon Landeau alluded to this in the interview as well, explaining that he is uncertain when things will resume as planned.
"If I told you we are going to know something in two weeks I'd be lying. I might not be wrong, even a broken clock is right twice a day. But I would be lying because I don't know...We're in the midst of a global crisis and this is not about the film industry. I think everybody needs to do now whatever we can do, as we say here, to flatten the [coronavirus] curve."
As it stands, Avatar 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on December 17, 2021. It's not clear at this time if the delay in production will also cause the release date to be pushed back. Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang and Zoe Saldana are reprising their roles. Additionally, Avatar 3 is set to on December 22, 2023, with Avatar 4 coming on December 19, 2025, and finally Avatar 5 on December 17, 2027. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further information is made available. This news comes to us via the New Zealand Herald.