20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Fans will have to wait a little bit longer to see Avatar 2.
The Wrap reported Thursday that the first of three sequels to director James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster will not be ready in time for its planned Christmas 2017 release. It's the second delay for the film, which 20th Century Fox had originally planned to release by Christmas 2016.
E! News has reached out to the studio to comment on the delay.
There is no new release date set for Avatar 2. Cameron plans to shoot the movie—plus two more sequels—at the same time in New Zealand. A start date for filming has not been set yet, though production is in the preliminary stages.
Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won three, for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. To date, it has earned over $2.7 billion worldwide. In 2014, both Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington signed to reprise their roles as Neytiri and Jake Sully, respectively. Sigourney Weaver, meanwhile, will return as a different character. Avatar 2 is expected to pick up where the first film ended. However, the director has also said much of the new movie will be set underwater and on Pandora's moon.
In an interview conducted last month, Cameron seemingly hinted that the sequel's release date might be pushed back. "Christmas of '17 is the target," the filmmaker told The Montreal Gazette. "At least, that's what we've announced. But I don't consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart. I call it a meta-narrative that runs across the three movies. Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story. We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It's been about a two-year task. [We've finished)] all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds within the world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So, we're really poised to start after the first of the year."
Skeptics have questioned whether the move was due in part to Walt Disney Pictures shifting the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII from May 26, 2017 to Dec. 15, 2017. "The move follows the extraordinary success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was the first Star Wars movie to premiere in December," the studio said in a statement. "In the popular holiday movie-going corridor, it smashed numerous records, including biggest domestic and global debuts of all time..." Indeed, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently the third top-grossing film of all time with $1.9 billion, not far behind Cameron's Titanic at $2.2 billion and Avatar at $2.8 billion.
20th Century Fox has not commented on the speculation.