'Avatar' sequels to be shot in New Zealand

James Cameron could shoot all three follow-up films in just nine months

'Avatar' sequels to be shot in New Zealand

James Cameron will shoot all three of his scheduled Avatar sequels in New Zealand, it has been revealed.

According to Total Film, the filmmaker could make all three of the follow-up films to his hugely successful sci-fi blockbuster in the space of just nine months. The decision to make each film in New Zealand should provide a boost to the country's economy and help create jobs, with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce stating: "The Avatar sequels will provide hundreds of jobs and thousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as well as jobs right across the economy."

Sam Worthington, who starred as Jake Sully in the original Avatar film, said recently revealed that production on Avatar 2 will begin in October 2014. The first sequel is scheduled for release in December 2016 with the third and fourth films set to follow in 2017 and 2018.

Released in 2009, Cameron's Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all-time, a title it still holds, with worldwide box office takings exceeding $2.7 billion (£1.7 billion). Worthington's co-stars in the original, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, are also expected to return for the sequels.

Meanwhile, it was reported in September that Arnold Schwarzenegger is being lined up to join the cast for Avatar 2 and will play a "bad guy human general". Cameron has yet to confirm this but he has worked with the Austrian actor on three previous films: Terminator, Terminator 2 and True Lies.

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