James Cameron has set his return trip to Pandora.
Fox announced Wednesday that "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3," the sequels to last year's science-fiction blockbuster, will be Cameron's next films, with the director beginning work on the scripts in early 2011. Production on "Avatar 2" could begin as soon as late 2011, with the movie likely in theaters in December 2014, the studio said.
Fox said that Cameron has not made a decision about whether to shoot the two films back to back but that he could, which would allow "Avatar 3" to come out as early as December 2015.
There was little detail about the plot for the new movies and no word about how many of the original cast members would return.
South African opera rejects call
The Cape Town Opera troupe of Cape Town, South Africa, on Wednesday rejected a call from retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu to cancel a performance in Israel scheduled next month.
The opera's managing director, Michael Williams, said that the company would not take a political position and cut cultural ties with Israel or the Palestinian territory.
Tutu, who earned a Nobel for his peaceful opposition to apartheid, on Tuesday compared Cape Town Opera's planned visit to international artists performing in apartheid South Africa. He said Israel is "luring" international artists to the Tel Aviv Opera House to advance its "fallacious claim to being a 'civilized democracy.'"
Stagecoach roster fills
Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood will headline the fifth Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, slated for April 30 and May 1 on a weekend that also will feature country veterans Loretta Lynn, Rodney Crowell and Ricky Skaggs as well as newcomers including the Secret Sisters, Easton Corbin and Steel Magnolia.
Leon Russell, Darius Rucker, Wanda Jackson, Truth & Salvage Co., Josh Turner and Jack Ingram will help fill out the weekend bill, for which tickets will go on sale Nov. 5.
Houdini is set
A century after Harry Houdini thrilled audiences with daring escapes from handcuffs, straitjackets and watery tombs, the legendary magician has conjured a major art museum exhibition that explores his enduring legacy.
"Houdini: Art and Magic," which opens Friday at the Jewish Museum in New York City, tells the story of an impoverished son of Jewish immigrants who harnessed the power of the mass media, and the emerging technologies of film and photography, to become one of the 20th century's most famous performers.
Scattered amid the historic photographs, Art Nouveau posters and archival films are more than two dozen recent works by such well-known artists as Matthew Barney, Vik Muniz and Raymond Pettibon that attest to Houdini's continuing influence as the consummate illusionist. The museum also displays some of his magic props, including handcuffs, shackles, a straitjacket, a milk can and a packing trunk that were featured in various escape acts.
Thumbs-down to Newton idea
An advisory board is recommending against entertainer Wayne Newton's proposal to build a museum and bus tourists to his sprawling estate southeast of Las Vegas.
Dozens of speakers aired opinions before the Paradise Town Advisory Board gave a thumbs-down Tuesday to Newton's proposal to develop his 38-acre Casa de Shenandoah compound as a tourist attraction. Board members said they were concerned the project would draw too much traffic and hurt the surrounding neighborhood. It's zoned for rural neighborhood preservation.
The Clark County Commission is due to take up the matter Nov. 17.
007's Aston roars at auction
One of the world's most famous James Bond cars — the specially equipped silver Aston Martin first driven by Sean Connery in 1964's "Goldfinger" — was auctioned off Wednesday in London for $4.1 million.
The vehicle, which has an ejector seat, machine guns, rotating license plates and other spy gear, was one of two Aston Martins factory-modified for use in the early Bond films. The other was reported stolen in 1997 and has never been recovered. Many believe it has been destroyed.
"This is the only genuine, 007 James Bond car," said Mick Walsh, editor in chief of Classic and Sports Car Magazine.
The buyer was not immediately identified.