"Avatar" fans hungry for information about the long-gestating sequels to the 2009 science fiction blockbuster got another morsel this week, when director James Cameron said he will film the live-action portions of the three movies in New Zealand, with production scheduled to start there in early 2015.
Cameron said the intention is to shoot the three movies concurrently, releasing the first sequel in time for Christmas 2016 and the following sequels in late 2017 and late 2018.
The announcement, which Cameron made at a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand, on Monday, came with a promise from "Avatar's" studio, 20th Century Fox, to spend at least $413 million in the island nation, in exchange for a 25% tax rebate there. In addition to the live-action shooting, much of the visual-effects work will be handled by New Zealand's Weta Digital.
As on the first "Avatar" movie, the performance-capture portions of the film, which represent a large chunk, will be shot on stages in California, this time at a studio in Manhattan Beach.