By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 27, 2010 at 4:49AM
James Cameron has made up his mind. He can't get Avatar out of his head. And he's doing the right thing, shooting two sequels to Avatar (possibly back to back), because he's going to give audiences more of what they want. (Reminder: Avatar grossed $ $2.8 billion worldwide, bolstered by premium 3-D prices, and tops Blu-ray sales records.) And he'll plow some of the huge R & D that went into the cost of Avatar back into the sequels (presumably making them less expensive--although you know he'll want to up the VFX ante). And he will remind us of what top-of-the-line 3-D can be. Immersive. Engrossing. Welcoming us into another world, in this case, Pandora. Don't you want to go back there? Holiday 2014 and 2015 seem very far away. But now Cameron knows what he is going to do next.
And Sony's Cleopatra --hoping to star Angelina Jolie as the Egyptian queen--can go to some other director. Who? I've been chewing over which directors could handle such a monstrous undertaking without going off the deep end. I understand why Cameron was Sony and producer Scott Rudin's go-to guy--he never forgets pleasing the audience, keeps the common touch. Also, I do not think Cleopatra needs to be in 3-D. I hate 3-D, unless it's CG animation or Cameron: digital environments work best for 3-D. Vote in the poll below.
Cameron will get cracking on the scripts for the two films early in 2011 (he already has loads of leftover material from his first go-round, which took a decade to write), and has set his sights on starting production later in the year, but won't decide on a final shooting schedule for the two films until he finishes the script:
"In the second and third films, which will be self-contained stories that also fulfill a greater story arc, we will not back off the throttle of 'Avatar's' visual and emotional horsepower, and will continue to explore its themes and characters, which touched the hearts of audiences in all cultures around the world. I'm looking forward to returning to Pandora, a world where our imaginations can run wild."
Cameron and his partner Jon Landau will produce for Lightstorm Entertainment.