Having struck a deal with the New Zealand government for increased production subsidies, director James Cameron is officially set to shoot all three “Avatar” sequels in that country. Cameron says all three films will be shot back-to-back and released from late 2016. The combined budget is said to be at least $415 million U.S. dollars.
NZ Prime Minister John Key announced the deal in a tweet. The agreement includes commitments from 20th Century Fox on spending on production in New Zealand, as well as crew quotas and a commitment for New Zealand to host the premiere for one of the three sequels.
Cameron, who is about to become a New Zealand resident, expects to work with Peter Jackson and his Weta workshop to avoid stretching the resources available. He adds that: “It’s important for everyone to know this isn’t just about the Avatar films directly, it’s about trying to lift up the New Zealand film industry, incubate new talent and develop new IP.”
New production incentives in New Zealand give rebates of 15-20%, with an extra 5% rebate if filmmakers provide benefits to the country.