'Avatar' to Return for Three Sequels

Director James Cameron will shoot the films simultaneously

James Cameron
Desiree Navarro/WireImage
James Cameron
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James Cameron is making three sequels to Avatar, the director and 20th Century Fox announced yesterday, with the first slated for release in 2016. A slew of screenwriters, including Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Shane Salerno (The Savages) and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), has been hired to help Cameron write the new films, reports Variety

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"In writing the new films, I've come to realize that Avatar's world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen," Cameron said in a statement. 

Production is set to begin in 2014, and the three films will be shot simultaneously under Cameron's Lighthouse Entertainment production company. The first sequel is scheduled for release in December 2016, and the other two will follow in December 2017 and December 2018. 

Avatar is the highest-grossing film of all time with global receipts of $2.78 billion.