Director James Cameron who has a farm in New Zealand confirms he will film "Avatar 2" and two other sequels to his 2009 blockbuster "Avatar" in the country. The follow-up films will be made back to back with a combined budget of an estimated $NZ500 million ($US415 million) on live action and visual effects.
The deal announced by producer Jon Landau and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was made after the government agreed to increase film tax rebates up to 25 percent from the current 15 percent. In return, the government will host at least one official red carpet premiere.
The New Zealand officials also ask the "Avatar" producers to include a featurette on New Zealand in DVDs and Blu Rays to help promote the country as a tourist destination. Cameron additionally offers to be a member of a new screen advisory board. He will provide advice and guidance to New Zealand filmmakers looking to succeed internationally.
"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," Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce states. Cameron himself says he is looking forward to working with the New Zealand locals, "I've worked with crews all over the world, quite a bit in the US and Canada, and you don't have that same spark."
The first "Avatar" led by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana was released in 2009 to a commercial and critical success. Made on an estimated $237 million, it was partly filmed in New Zealand. It becomes the highest-grossing film of all time with $2.78 billion worldwide. It won three Oscars out of nine nominations in 2010.