James Cameron says he will shoot 3 'Avatar' sequels in New Zealand
In this undated file film publicity image originally released by 20th Century Fox, the character Neytiri, voiced by Zoe Saldana, right, and the character Jake, voiced by Sam Worthington are shown in a scene from "Avatar." (AP/20th Century Fox)
The Associated Press
Published Sunday, December 15, 2013 9:38PM EST
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- Director James Cameron says he plans to make three sequels to his 2009 sci-fi blockbuster movie "Avatar" in New Zealand.
Cameron made the announcement Monday with producer Jon Landau and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. The films will be made by Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox.
"Avatar" won three Academy Awards and is the highest-grossing film in history.
Cameron says he plans to complete principal shooting on the three movies at one time, perhaps over a period of about nine months.
New Zealand's government has agreed to a 25 per cent financial rebate. Cameron didn't disclose an exact budget although he says he expects economies of scale will help the three movies together cost less than $1 billion.
He expects the first sequel to be released in 2016.