Update (July 23, 2020): James Cameron’s Avatar 2 is the latest blockbuster that has been delayed due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Cameron confirmed the news in a statement posted to the film franchise’s official Twitter account.
In the statement, the director revealed that the current coronavirus pandemic isn’t just causing delays in filming out in New Zealand. It’s also causing some delays in the film’s production out in Los Angeles where most studios are only just starting to fire back up.
“Due to Covid-19, we were forced into an unexpected delay in starting the live action filming we are currently doing in New Zealand,” said Cameron in the statement. “What most of you likely do not know is that the pandemic is still preventing us from being allowed to recommence most of our virtual production work on stages in Los Angeles. That work is just as critical to the films as the live action work.”
“Prior to Covid-19, everything was on track to bring you the first sequel in December 2021. Unfortunately, due to the impact that the pandemic has had on our schedule it is no longer possible for us to make that date.”
Read Cameron’s full statement with regards to the delay below:
A message from James Cameron.
Irayo, Na'vi Nation. Stay safe. 💙 pic.twitter.com/Uwi2J6xF4k
— Avatar (@officialavatar) July 23, 2020
Prior to today’s announcement, we had learned back in March that the Avatar sequels had been forced to stop filming out in New Zealand due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
You can read up on the initial report of the initial filming delay below.
Original Story (3/17/2020): James Cameron’s Avatar sequels have paused filming amid the current coronavirus pandemic.
Originally, the films were supposed to begin filming next month out in Wellington, New Zealand at Stone Street Studios. The decision to hit the breaks, however, was brought on in an attempt to help combat the further spreading of the coronavirus.
The New Zealand Herald was the first to report the hold up in filming on Cameron’s Avatar sequels. The publication in turn learned of the situation from several local crew members who were set to work on the film, but now find themselves out of a job given the halt in production.
Avatar producer Jon Landau later confirmed the delay in production, telling the Herald that there’s currently no word with regards to when the studio plans to pick back up with filming.
Though Landau was unable to give an answer as to when filming would start back up, the producer did let slip that the crew will still be working on the sequels out in Los Angeles in the mean time.
“We’ve delayed it. We had plans to come down Friday night with a group of people and start back up and we made the decision to hold off and continue working here [Los Angeles], and come down there a little bit later than we’d planned,” Landau told the Herald according to THR. “We’re in the midst of a global crisis and this is not about the film industry. I think everybody needs to do now whatever we can do, as we say here, to flatten the [coronavirus] curve.”
As we learned previously, James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar sequels are quite a big undertaking– especially given the director’s plans to film all four future installments simultaneously.
As it stands, the highly anticipated follow up to Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster hit is set to hit theaters on December 17, 2021. Given the indefinite delay in filming, however, it’ll be interesting to see if the original release date for Avatar 2 will have to be pushed back to accommodate for the unforeseen pause in production.
The Avatar sequels aren’t the only high profile films that have had to halt production in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic.
Other titles that have hit the breaks on production include Fantastic Beasts 3, Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, and Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley and Antlers.