Fox Delays Avatar, Adds Museum 2

Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox corporation has substantially changed its planned release date schedule for 2009, moving two projects around by several months reports the trades.

The big change is that James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi tale “Avatar” has been pushed back a full seven months to allow Cameron more time for post-production and more time for theatres to install 3D screens across the globe. Cameron is set to complete live-action principal photography in New Zealand shortly and on schedule.

The planned May 22nd debut will now bow on December 18th, the same weekend Cameron’s last film “Titanic” opened on and went on to become the biggest film of all time.

In its place on the Memorial Day holiday, Fox has decided to insert “Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian,” the sequel to last year’s massive family hit.

Director Shawn Levy and star Ben Stiller will return for the follow-up which will be the first major Hollywood movie shot at the museum complex in Washington, DC. Some actors from the first film are expected to return whilst Reese Witherspoon has been approached to play Amelia Earhart.

Finally, Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios have announced that “Ice Age 3” is set to be produced in digital 3-D and remains set for release on July 1st 2009.