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WIRE Buzz: Avatar sequels to resume production; Disneyland re-opening plan; Zenimation

By Josh Weiss

New Zealand is ready to start film/TV productions again, and it looks as though James Cameron's Avatar sequels will be taking them up on the offer. Posting on Instagram, producer Jon Landau confirmed that shooting on the sci-fi follow-ups is ready to resume "next week." He topped off the good news with a glimpse at two sci-fi vehicles.

"Our #Avatar sets are ready — and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week," Landau, who has produced every one of Cameron's project's since Titanic, wrote in his social media post. "Check out the Matador, a high speed forward command vessel (bottom) and the Picador jet-boat (top) — can’t wait to share more."


Recently chatting with Empire Magazine, Cameron admitted that he did not expect the coronavirus pandemic shutdown to delay the next four entries in the big budget Avatar franchise — the first of which is scheduled to hit theaters next December.

In the last few weeks, the Czech Republic and the U.K. have announced that movies and shows can return to their borders, albeit with strict health-related precautions.

Speaking of things re-opening, Disneyland Anaheim offered an update on its plans to resume operations by setting the stage for patron expectations.

"Upon reopening, certain parks, hotels, restaurants, attractions, experiences and other offerings will be modified or unavailable, will have limited capacity and will be subject to limited availability or even closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed," reads the park's website.

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle

This seems to fall in line with the staggered re-opening process employed by Disney Parks in North America. Earlier this week, Disney World in Orlando, welcomed customers back into its Disney Springs location. Everything else (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Galaxy's Edge) remains closed.

"We want to open up as soon as we can across the world, but we are going to do so in a responsible way," Disney CEO Bob Chapek reportedly said (via THR) during an earnings call last week. "We want to get our cast back to work as soon as possible."

Disneyland Anaheim closed its doors in March, only the fourth time in its 65-year history.

Disneyland Shangai opened up earlier this month.

And speaking of Disney, the company's streaming service, Disney+, just announced a relaxing new short-form series: Zenimation. Imagine falling asleep to pre-recorded sounds of the rainforest or crashing waves. That's exactly what this is — it just has a visual element attached as well. The release describes the show as "an animated soundscape experience."

"Whether it’s baby Moana being called by the ocean, Anna and Kristoff walking through an icy forest, or Baymax and Hiro Hamada flying over San Fransokyo, these iconic scenes become an aural experience like no other with the sounds of ocean waves, an icy forest and soaring flight," continues the synopsis.

Watching iconic scenes from hand-drawn and CG-animated Disney films really gives you a new appreciation for all the hard work that went into making them. It's so beautiful and soothing, in fact, that you half-expect David Attenborough to chime in with some narration about the natural world.

All 10 episodes of Zenimation (created by Tangled Ever After editor David Bess) are now streaming.