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James Cameron plans four more “Avatar” films, reaching into 2023

Avatar via FOXAvatar via FOX

James Cameron has some pretty bold plans in place for his “Avatar” franchise, announcing today that four more films are expected to hit theaters before 2024.

The first film is still the highest grossing movie of all time, even “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” couldn’t topple the almost $2.8B worldwide gross that the film reached all those years ago. Cameron is hoping to take that momentum into 2023, telling industry executives at CinemaCon that he expects to add four more films to the franchise.

Those films would release around Christmas, but spaced out much closer than the first two films. The expected dates are 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023. That is of course if everything goes according to plan, the films are monumental in scope and require an exceptional amount of time in post-production. “We’re making four epic films, each one of which stands alone but together form a complete saga,” the director announced this week.

The first “Avatar” was released back in 2009, the film earned nine Academy Award nominations and was released just when digital 3-D first became mainstream. A lot has changed since then, and the 3D tech-craze has all but come and gone at this point. Having a big-budget 3D film is no longer a guaranteed success for movie-theaters or studios, but even films like “Star Wars” released a 3D version in theaters last year.

Disney is also betting big on “Avatar,” having already started construction on a colossal expansion to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in Florida. That attraction, fit with “floating” islands, is expected to open in 2017.

The last we checked in with “Avatarm” the franchise was a confirmed trilogy. Now it seems Cameron will expand the films even further. Depending on the box-office gross, the franchise may reach far beyond that.

Cameron stated, “There is too much story and visionary ideas for two sequels,” he said. “So we talked to Fox and expanded it to three sequels. Now that the script work is finishing up, it’s not three. It looks like four. So after talking it through with our partners at Fox and giving it a lot of thought, we decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic project.”

So far the details on the actual films, stories, and cast-members have been kept under wraps.