Now that Disney is captaining the ship that delivered the “Avatar” franchise, the studio is pushing the release dates to James Cameron’s multibillion-dollar franchise sequels by as much as two years.
Disney announced on Tuesday that the release of the untitled “Avatar 2” has been pushed a year to December 2021, from its previous December 2020 date, while the third film will be delayed two years to December 2023 and the fourth bumped from December 2024 to December 2025. The fifth film is now expected to be released in December 2027.
James Cameron’s 2009 film broke box office records, grossing $2.8 billion worldwide, becoming the highest grossing film worldwide — a record that Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” is only now on pace to break.
Disney acquired “Avatar,” and a slew of other films, franchises and intellectual property from Fox after finalizing its $71.3 billion acquisition for Fox’s TV and film entertainment business. Disney also said on Tuesday that it was pushing the release date for Fox’s X-Men film “New Mutants” and removing a planned “Gambit” film starring Channing Tatum from the schedule all together.
This isn’t the first time that “Avatar 2” has been pushed further into the calendar. Fox had originally planned to release the follow up to Cameron’s epic by Christmas 2016. That was pushed to 2017 and then 2018, until Cameron told The Star that it would be delayed again in order to shoot all four sequels simultaneous.
“Well, 2018 is not happening,” Cameron said in a 2017 interview. “We haven’t announced a firm release date. What people have to understand is that this is a cadence of releases. So we’re not making ‘Avatar 2.’ We’re making ‘Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5.’ It’s an epic undertaking. It’s not unlike building the Three Gorges dam. So I know where I’m going to be for the next eight years of my life.”
“Avatar” star Sigourney Weaver told The Hollywood Reporter in October that the first two of the four sequels has wrapped principal photography.
Back in November, BBC News leaked what appeared to be the titles for Cameron’s highly anticipated upcoming sequels. Citing what it said was studio documentation regarding future “Avatar” plans, the news outlet reported that the the titles for the second, third, fourth and fifth films were: “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Avatar: The Seed Bearer,” “Avatar: The Tulkun Rider” and “Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.”