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It’s been six long years since the first “Avatar” hit the big screen, giving extra credibility to the 3D gimmick when before there was none. The opening weekend for the film was modest — $77 million domestically. It initially seemed like a disappointing take, but when the secondweekend nearly matched the first in box office sales, we knew we were in for something special. The film went on to make over $2.7 billion worldwide, making it the highest grossing film of all time (by a huge margin of over $600 million).

In the time since “Avatar,” a lot has happened, and despite the huge impact the film had on Hollywood at the time, the film seems to have quickly disappeared from the pop culture zeitgeist. But don’t let this calm fool you. Right now, there is a Cirque du Soleil show called “Toruk – The First Flight,” which takes its inspiration from “Avatar.” And what’s more, visionary director James Cameron is still hard at work on the next three sequels, which, interestingly enough, are taking some inspiration from the Cirque du Soleil show.

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Cameron talks how the inspiration for “Avatar” is going full circle.

“It’s a closing loop now. I was inspired by the Cirque du Soleil shows, with their celebration of human physicality, with their made-up culture, their made-up languages, that sense of a wondrous transport to a different world. It was very much in my mind when I was creating [the original] Avatar.

I got to know the Cirque guys when I was finishing the film and we started talking about other projects, which led to making a 3D film together, called ‘Worlds Away.’ Then they came to me and said, ‘We want to adapt “Avatar” to a show.’ They weren’t sure at that time if it was an arena show or a tent show. And I said, ‘This is perfect. We absolutely should work together.’ So now they’ve closed the loop.

I think there are some nice ideas that were developed by the artists on Toruk. I tell my artists, ‘Hey, make sure we’re not ignoring what they’ve done.’ Why wouldn’t it be a creative feedback loop? They fed on our designs. There are a few things I liked in the costume design. So it’s nice for me to see how other people interpret the Na’vi world and the world of Pandora.”

Sounds interesting. But, like many people, I’m wondering when we can expect the next film. Cameron also had an answer to that question.

“Christmas of ’17 is the target. At least, that’s what we’ve announced. But I don’t consider that to be as important as the fact that when we get all three films done, we drop them a year apart. I call it a meta-narrative that runs across the three movies. Each film stands alone, but it also tells one much larger story.

We have design more or less finished, which is an enormous task. It’s been about a two-year task. (We’ve finished) all the creatures and the landscapes, and the new worlds withinthe world of Pandora that you see. The writing is ongoing, but almost finished. Technical development is done. Stages are done. Infrastructure. So we’re really poised to start after the first of the year.”

So Christmas 2017 is the current target release date for “Avatar 2,” but it is important to note that Cameron didn’t seem particularly attached to that street date. More than anything, it’s important that once the first one is out, that the next one will only be a year away. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this date move up to summer of 2018, but we shall see.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the next “Avatar” film, or by Christmas 2017, will it be too little, too late?

Let us know your thoughts below!

SOURCE: Montreal Gazette