Avatar: James Cameron in talks with New Zealand government over Avatar 2

Christopher Morris
11 November 2013
Avatar: James Cameron in talks with New Zealand government over Avatar 2
A scene from 'Avatar'

With preparations for the 'Avatar' sequels apparently progressing rapidly, ahead of a potential shooting which will be begin in October, 2014, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding the location of the 'Avatar 2' filming. This is hugely significant, as the bout of filming which will involve such luminaries from the first 'Avatar' movie as Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver is going to be a truly mammoth one indeed.

It was already strongly rumoured, and virtually confirmed, that the second, third and fourth 'Avatar' movies will be shot simultaneously, and Stephen Lang, who plays Colonel Quaritch in the 'Avatar' series, has stated explicitly this week that this is Cameron's intention. Thus, this is going to be an extremely expensive movie shoot. It is not inconceivable that the eventual value of the three sequels could run close to $1 billion, given that the projected budget for 'Avatar 2' is already suspected to be in the region of $250 million.

It has been confirmed by the New Zealand government, though, that James Cameron is still discussing a possible 'Avatar' shoot in New Zealand with the Film Commission and Film New Zealand, with talks apparently ongoing. The film industry has been extremely prominent in New Zealand in recent years, with Sir Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' film having been shot there thanks to a generous package of tax-breaks in 2010 which were approved by ministers in New Zealand.

While officials in the antipodean nation have conceded that attracting the 'Avatar' shoot to their nation would be an economic boon for the country, they have yet to confirm the precise incentives that will be used to lure Cameron there. However, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has not ruled out a sweetener for the 'Avatar' series, and it seems likely that a similar deal to that which attracted the filming of the 'Hobbit' could be brokered. Joyce has confirmed, though, that the New Zealand government has no intention of getting into a bidding war over the 'Avatar' movies.

The original 'Avatar' movie grossed over $2 billion worldwide, and with the sequels on that basis possibly capable of generating somewhere in the region of $5 - 8 billion, there is no doubt that competition over securing filming will be intense right down to the point at which it's confirmed by Cameron.

Christopher Morris watches too many sci-fi films, has a keen interest in current affairs, and is a regular contributor to Yahoo on television, cinema, video games, technology and politics.

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