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James Cameron to make 3 'Avatar' sequels in New Zealand

james cameron reuters

Director James Cameron announce a long-term agreement which will bring "Avatar" themed lands to Disney parks with the the first at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as he speaks at a media briefing in Glendale, Calfornia September 20, 2011. A scene from "Avatar" is shown on screen background. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS)

Director James Cameron says he plans to make three sequels to his 2009 sci-fi blockbuster movie "Avatar" in New Zealand.

Cameron made the announcement Monday with producer Jon Landau and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. The films will be made by Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox.

"Avatar" won three Academy Awards and is the highest-grossing film in history.

Cameron says he plans to complete principal shooting on the three movies at one time, perhaps over a period of about nine months.

New Zealand's government has agreed to a 25 percent financial rebate. Cameron didn't disclose an exact budget although he says he expects economies of scale will help the three movies together cost less than $1 billion.

He expects the first sequel to be released in 2016.

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