James Cameron is one of the most successful filmmakers of all time. Financially, he's a goldmine, particularly after directing Avatar, which became the highest-grossing movie of all time with a $2.7 billion worldwide box office run. Given the runaway success of Avatar, it seemed inevitable that 20th Century Fox would greenlight a sequel as soon as possible — but James Cameron is taking his time crafting the second instalment in this insanely profitable franchise.
Over the last two years, we have heard rumblings that #JamesCameron was working on the scripts to multiple sequels, and that the writer/director was planning on shooting all of them back-to-back. The Avatar sequels continued to be pushed back — but now we have the official release dates for Avatar 2-5, and it looks like Cameron will have all the time he needs to fully realize his vision.
Avatar Sequel Release Dates
Thanks to a post from the official Avatar Facebook page, we know the release dates of all 4 Avatar sequels, and it looks like the franchise wants to reclaim the December box office back from Star Wars. The official release dates are as follows:
- Avatar 2 - December 18, 2020
- Avatar 3 - December 17, 2021
- Avatar 4 - December 20, 2024
- Avatar 5 - December 19, 2025
There are very few details about the next 4 Avatar films, but James Cameron has stated that it will be the continued story of Sam Worthington’s character, Jake Sully, who is now a fully-fledged member of the Na’vi, after permanently transferring into his avatar body at the end of the first film.
Want to read more about Avatar? Check out:
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- Why We Need To Give The 'Avatar' World Building A Chance
- James Cameron Wants To Show 'Avatar 2' in 3D - But Without The Glasses. Can He Do It?
James Cameron is known for introducing game-changing filmmaking techniques in his movies, and it’s a fair bet that he has a few tricks up his sleeve for the next 4 Avatar films. Avatar 2 was originally set for a 2018 release date, but with the delays in shooting (and the sequel set to begin production this summer), the new December 2020 release date seems much more realistic.
Avatar Vs. Star Wars: Battle For December
It makes sense that the #Avatar sequels would try to secure December release dates, since Avatar was the biggest December release back in 2009. However, during the Avatar franchise's long hiatus, the Star Wars franchise has slipped into the December blockbuster pocket, with The Force Awakens and Rogue One grossing a combined $3 billion worldwide.
Star Wars is one of the biggest and most profitable franchises of all time, and has rolled out a slate of films that covers the next 3 years – and it seems this is only the beginning of the revitalized Star Wars franchise. Given #StarWars's success in December, it is likely the upcoming releases will also secure the franchise’s hold on the Christmas box office.
There have been rumors that future Star Wars films could move to May (the original release month for the 6 films before #TheForceAwakens), but Lucasfilm and Disney have little-to-no reason to move to May, unless they start releasing 2 Star Wars films a year.
Avatar does hold the title of the highest-grossing movie of all time; however, it has been eight years since the first film was released, and simply doesn't the franchise loyalty of, say, Star Wars. The first Avatar sequel is going to attract a lot of attention, but pitting it against any Star Wars film may not be a savvy move.
By the time Avatar 2 comes out, it will have been 11 years since the first film – which is an eternity in Hollywood. Fox needs to give the franchise time to make its way back into the public’s consciousness before they try to go toe-to-toe with the juggernaut known as Star Wars.
Ultimately, we don’t know the Star Wars release dates for 2020 and beyond, and the new Avatar films could be trying to claim them first. It will be interesting to see how the battle for December plays out, as James Cameron and his films are never to be underestimated. We will see how everything plays out when Avatar 2 hits theaters on December 18, 2020.
Do you think 'Avatar 2' can hold its own against a Star Wars film in December 2020?
(Source: Box Office Mojo. Poll Image Credit: 20th Century Fox)