It’s finally happened…the ambitious Avatar mega-sequel has finally started production!
Simultaneous production on the four Avatar sequels began this past week. This is the most ambitious production ever, tacking four movies at once for release in December 2020, 2021, 2024 and 2025. Previously, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy was filmed as a unit by Peter Jackson, as was The Hobbit trilogy.
The 1981 sci-fi thriller Scanners from David Cronenberg, which starred Michael Ironside and Jennifer O’Neill, is now being adapted as a possible TV series by Media Res and Bron Studios. According to Deadline, they came out as the victors in a competitive bidding war, beating out Lionsgate, Paramount and Skydance.
The movie dealt with people with telepathic and telekinetic powers who are forced to work secretly for a corporation that deals in security and weapons systems – or hunted down if they don’t.
Rights were previously held by Dimension Films where they attempted to develop a new movie and a TV series, but it never resulted in anything.
Some updates from the weekend…
It appears that the Avatar sequels – all four of them – may finally have release dates that are attainable, if not still far off. With James Cameron increasing the number of sequels from two to four, and choosing to film all simultaneously, it’s been a long and winding road from the release of the original film in 2009. Now all four have set release dates, with the next film being release on December 18th, 2020 – exactly 11 years from the original’s wide release date in the U.S. Avatar 3 will follow the next year on December 17th, 2011, and then a three year break before the last two release on December 20th, 2024 and December 19th, 2025 respectively. Of course, who knows if that schedule will keep…but it at least seems realistic.
Freeform’s fantasy series Shadowhunters, based on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series of novels, has been renewed for a third season. The show is currently in a mid-season break with the second half of season two scheduled to return on June 5th. Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer, who took over as showrunners for the second season, will remain.
Lastly, Bryan Singer, currently serving as executive producer on FX’s Legion, is partnering with digital media company Blackpills on the new series August One, created by John Cabrera (Gilmore Girls, H+). The series is described as a futuristic thriller in which the Roman Empire never collapsed, but instead grew into a technologically advanced civilization but where the old concepts of slavery, corruption and sin are “normalized” – but now that civilization is on the brink of collapse.
Anyone remember the Star Trek episode “Bread and Circuses”?
Just some catch-up stuff before the weekend…
The CW has completed their full house of returning shows, ordering a fifth season of The 100, so all its returning scripted shows that weren’t previously announced as ending have received early renewals for an additional season. Among it’s freshman series, however, the story is less rosy – Riverdale did get a second season, but No Tomorrow and Frequency seem unlikely.
Also, on the less rosy side, remember that little heard of movie Avatar? And the multiple sequels that were supposed to be out by now? Well, they are delayed again. Although James Cameron now says there are no less than FOUR sequels planned, Avatar 2 isn’t even going to make it’s latest planned date of December 2018. Cameron told the Toronto Star, “2018 is not happening,” mainly because they are making four movies, not one. But, “We’re full tilt boogie right now. This is my day job and pretty soon we’ll be 24-7.” I think it is safe to say Cameron is all-in on this, and it will be released when it is ready.
Lastly, we’ll be back in Westoros on July 16th…HBO finally announced that Season 7 will start on that date. If you are like me and HBO is the only channel you don’t get, expect a Season 6 marathon that weekend with a free preview… 🙂
If there was any thought that Star Wars: The Force Awakens would slow down by now, then you need to drink some more blue milk. Yesterday, the film hit $900 million at the domestic box office, after just 50 days of release, increasing it’s #1 position by a very large margin. And today it is expected to cross the $2 billion mark worldwide, closing in on #2 Titanic, which sits at $2.19B, and overall king Avatar at $2.78B.
At any moment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will become the number 1 all time grossing movie in the U.S., taking in around $750 million after the 2nd-higest ever New Years Weekend box office draw of $219.3M. The current record holder is Avatar.
Globally the film is still in fourth at $1.536B, with Jurassic World ($1.669B), Titanic ($2.187B) and Avatar ($2.788B) still ahead of it. Third is likely and possibly second, but it is a long way from Avatar still. A big question mark will be China, where it opens this Saturday. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has reached it’s totals much faster than it’s predecessors though…will it have the steam to reach the top?
Update 6/23: Horner’s representatives confirmed his death.
Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer James Horner, who scored more than 75 films including Titanic (for which he received two Oscars), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (his film debut), Braveheart, Aliens, Apollo 13 and The Amazing Spider-Man and Avatar, is believed to be the pilot who died in a single-engine plane crash in Central Florida on Monday. No one else was on board.
Officials have not confirmed the name of the pilot yet, but the 61-year-old composer is a licensed pilot and has not been heard from since the crash. Condolences from those who knew him have been coming in, however. Director Ron Howard, who worked with Horner on Apollo 13, Cocoon and several other movies, tweeted early this morning:
Brilliant Composer James Horner, friend & collaborator on 7 movies has tragically died in a plane crash. My heart aches for his loved ones.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 23, 2015
Lawsuits seem to never end in Hollywood, but these might be on life support…
In the never-ending battle between the estate of Joe Shuster and Warner Bros. over rights to the character of Superman, it may have finally reached a conclusion (barring an escalation to the Supreme Court) after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied petitions by the estate for a rehearing and a rehearing en banc (by the whole court instead of a panel of judges), which essentially marks the end of the road for appeals, and a top court challenge seems unlikely.
While Avatar hasn’t been around nearly as long as Superman, it seems to make up for the long line of people suing James Cameron claiming it lifted their ideas, although one by one they get tossed aside (here is the most recent one we reported on.) Now another one gets tossed aside. Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit against Cameron, 20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment was dismissed in summary judgement yesterday. The court said that while “certain limited commonalities” existed between Avatar and Moore’s screenplays he says were submitted to Cameron’s Lightstorm in 1993 and 1994, Cameron provided “a comprehensive declaration that specifically addresses Moore’s allegations and points to past projects and other sources of inspiration from which he drew in writing Avatar.”
While details of what is exactly going to be in it, Walt Disney World finally broke ground at its Animal Kingdom park to add the new land based on James Cameron’s Avatar – more than two years after it was announced.
And not only was Mickey Mouse present, but a Na’vi as well – as well as (pictured, l to r) George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France; Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Jon Landau, producer of Avatar; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering; and Joe Rhode, creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering.
Check out the video as well for what they said about Avatar.
It appears that we won’t get two sequels to Avatar – we’ll get three.
According to Deadline, the plan is now for three sequels to be developed and produced simultaneously, an extremely ambitious plan and one that could have a price tag topping $1 billion – but given the original grossed over $2.8 billion to become the top grossing film of all time, it seems a pretty safe bet for 20th Century Fox.
To get things moving, James Cameron has actually set four writers to work: Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, The Black Dahlia) will write one, Shane Salerno (Armageddon) will write another, and the last will be done by the team of Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), all in collaboration with Cameron.
Production is expected to begin next year, with yearly releases starting in December 2016.
When Avatar destroyed box offices all over the world, James Cameron suddenly found himself the target of many lawsuits claiming that the movie ripped off their own stories. Now there is at least one less.
A U.S. District court tossed out a lawsuit filed by Elijah Schkeiban, who claimed that Avatar ripped off his novel (and a screenplay that never got produced) called Bats And Butterflies. But the judge said that the two were not substantially similar, and even after allowing Schkeiban to amend his complaint several times to provide more facts, but he never did, and now it appears that his suit is effectively dead.