The much-anticipated sequels are shutting down filming due to COVID-19 pandemic.
James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar sequels have become the latest big Hollywood productions to shut down amid the ongoing spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Producer Jon Landau confirmed the production delay to The New Zealand Herald. Filming was taking place in and around Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand.
Landau said he doesn’t know for sure when production will resume. “I think that’s an honest truth,” he said. “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.”
While filming might have paused, Landau said he’s hopeful the digital effects team at Weta can continue working on the project at this time. Landau said the filmmakers are looking to send more footage to Weta for digital effects during the filming downtime.
Variety reports that cameras have been rolling on the Avatar sequels since the middle of 2019 across two locations: Kumeu Studios in Auckland and Stone Street in Wellington. Cameron is looking to film two-and-a-half movies in this production setup, according to Landau.
Avatar 2 is slated to release in December 2021, with Avatar 2 scheduled to follow in December 2023. If all goes to play, Avatar 4 will release in December 2025, with Avatar 5 landing in December 2027.
The Avatar sequels are just the latest projects from New Zealand to shut down recently. Amazon’s big-budget Lord of the Rings TV show also suspended production recently due to the outbreak.