James Cameron announces 4 'Avatar' sequels

Premiere of Broad Green Pictures' 'The Dark Horse' at The Theatre at Ace Hotel - Arrivals Featuring: Cliff Curtis, James Cameron, James Napier Robertson Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 30 Mar 2016 Credit: FayesVision/

Director James Cameron Thursday announced plans to make four sequels to his 2009 sci-fi blockbuster "Avatar," according to reports from CinemaCon.

The "Titanic" director said the first film should hit theaters by Christmas 2018.

The four entries in the "Avatar" universe will be standalone films that will combine to make a "complete saga," Cameron told CinemaCon attendees (via Variety).

"It's going to be a true epic saga that's told in this rich and complex world," Cameron was quoted by The Verge.

The original "Avatar" is the highest grossing film of all time raking in $2.788 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

The Hollywood Reporternoted the movies would be filmed concurrently with releases scheduled for 2018 for the first sequel then 2020, 2021 and 2022 for the next three.

Avatar 2 is currently in pre-production, per IMDB. The film reunites at least four actors from the original cast:Zoe Saldana,Sigourney Weaver,Sam Worthington, andStephen Lang.

Cameron went on to insist the films would be worth the wait, continuing, "I've been working with the top four screenwriters and designers in the world to design the world of Avatar going forward. The environments, new cultures... From what I'm seeing, the art on the wall... in pure imagination is just beyond the first film. I'm speechless."

Avatar 3 is pegged for release in 2020, with the fourth and fifth instalments following in 2022 and 2023.

Meanwhile, Cameron also used his speech to underline his stance on proposed home streaming movie service The Screening Room, which would allow fans to watch new films on TV as soon as they are released in theatres.

"Our jobs as filmmakers is to keep making films on screen," he began. "We'll continue to make this industry the greatest show on earth. My producer Jon Landau and I are committed to the theatre experience. Despite what the folks at The Screening Room say, I think movies need to be offered in the theatre on opening day."

The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan has also spoken out against the proposal - the brainchild of Napster founder Sean Parker and his business partner Prem Akkaraju - while Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and J.J. Abrams have all endorsed the business venture, claiming The Screening Room could help swell overall revenues by targeting movie watchers who don't regularly go to cinemas to watch new releases.

-WENN contributed to this report.

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