James Cameron moved to New Zealand to start working on the sequel films to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar. While there is no official release date for Avatar 2, the director can already predict it’s going to be a smash hit. The only question is how much money Avatar 2 will make. Cameron has secured the biggest box office possible by partnering with CPG China, a joint venture with the state-owned Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin Hi-Tech Holding Group, in the production of Avatar 2 and 3, which Cameron will shoot back-to-back. By making a deal with CPG China, Cameron locked up the all-important Chinese movie-going market and audience. What does that mean? Among other things: Chinese Na’vi.
CPG China will provide a majority of the camera systems and other 3D production services for Avatar 2 and 3, and in return Cameron will cast Chinese actors to appear in the films. Cameron told THR:
For Avatar, we can certainly use Chinese actors as performance capture actors because any accent issues will hide within the Na’vi accent … So we can have Chinese Na’vi; [and in the live-action sequences] we can also have Chinese actors who speak English in the film. We are projecting a future in Avatar, and if you project that future out, it is logical that there would be a number of Chinese amongst the contingent on Pandora.
James Cameron is a smart man, both behind the camera and in the movie-making business. He knows the sequel films will cost a lot to make — if the first Avatar’s budget was an estimated $237 million, just imagine how much two more of them will cost — so to make up the budget in theaters, he has to make the sequel movies for the largest audience possible. So tapping in and catering to the Chinese market is a smart thing to do. Cameron continues:
“Within five years, China could easily be as big a gross-revenue market for film as North America, and there are very specific economic incentives for having both Chinese content and Chinese co-production. We are already funded on Avatar 2 and 3, but if we qualify as a co-production, there might be some incentives in the percentage of revenue we can take out of China.
It looks like Cameron will also be exploring the different races and ethnicities of Pandora, along with its oceans and surrounding planets, in the new Avatar sequels. Also, it feels like Avatar 2 has the potential to out-gross its predecessor if the new films will be made for a bigger worldwide audience.