New Zealand appears to be at the forefront of getting the world of filmmaking moving again as the Film Commission confirms to Deadline that some film and TV shoots “are already safely underway.” One of those movie productions looking to resume in the coming month is Disney and 20th Century Studios’ massive Avatar sequels.
While production on the Avatar sequels began back in 2017, filming of the live-action elements was recently put on pause due to the global health crisis.
According to the New Zealand Film Commission, every production in the country – which also includes Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series – must now complete a registration with portal ScreenSafe to help the Ministry of Health with contact tracing and WorkSafe with monitoring.
In the report, Deadline also notes that the sequels have a combined budget of more than $1 billion. These films include Avatar 2 set for a December 17, 2021 release, as well as Avatar 3 in December 2023, Avatar 4 in December 2025, and Avatar 5 in December 2027. That averages around roughly $250 million per picture, which just above what 2009’s Avatar cost.
New Zealand’s production resuming comes shortly after the Czech Republic reopened its doors for production, allowing the Disney+ series Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Solider to resume its paused shoot, among other projects.
Avatar 2 sees Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Matt Gerald, Dileep Rao, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi and Sigourney Weaver all reprising their roles from the first film, while new additions to the cast include Kate Winslet, Oona Chaplin, Cliff Curtis, Britain Dalton, Filip Geljo, Jamie Flatters, Bailey Bass, Trinity Bliss, Jack Champion, Duane Evans Jr., Edie Falco, Brandan Cowell, Michelle Yeoh, Jemaine Clement, Keston John and CJ Jones.