James Cameron's Avatar sequels are officially back in production, as evidenced by new photos posted to Instagram by franchise producer Jon Landau. He and Cameron returned to New Zealand two weeks ago and were immediately placed into government-mandated quarantine. After being declared healthy, they got the go-ahead to continue shooting at their Wellington-based studio.
Their return was greeted with a rather good omen: a fully-formed rainbow stretching across the sky. In a follow-up post, Landau snapped a photo of the sparse crew (a group most likely made up of essential personnel only), filming in the studio against a blue screen backdrop. You'll also note that they're all wearing face masks made of fabric or plastic.
The Avatar films are the first major Hollywood projects to restart production amid the pandemic. Yesterday, it was confirmed that Jurassic World: Dominion plans to pick up its production in the UK next month.
Avatar 2 is scheduled to hit theaters Dec. 17, 2021.
After temporarily shuttering its locations back in March, theater chain owner Cineworld is planning to reopen in the U.S. U.K., and parts of Europe between late June and throughout early July, Variety reports.
The company (which owns Regal in North America; Cineworld and Picturehouse in Britain and Ireland; Cinema City in Europe; and Yes Planet in Israel) now feels confident to restart business with Disney's Mulan and Warner Bros.' Tenet set for release on July 24 and July 31 respectively.
"We are thrilled to be back and encouraged by recent surveys that show that many people have missed going to the movie theater," Cineworld Mooky Greidinger said in a statement published by Variety. "With a strong slate confirmed for the coming weeks, including among others Tenet, Mulan, A Quiet Place Part II, Wonder Women 1984, Black Widow, [No Time to Die], Soul, Top Gun Maverick, and many more, the entire Cineworld team remains committed to being 'the best place to watch a movie.'"
Venues and Czech Republic and Slovakia will be the first to open on June 26. They'll be followed by Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania on July 3; Israel on July 9; and the U.S. and U.K. on July 10.
Nothing is set in stone, however, as businesses still need to adhere to local, state, and federal guidelines. Speaking of which, every Cineworld theater is enacting strict safety measures that include constant sanitization of theaters, social distancing through an updated booking system, and a fluid screening schedule that prevents crowds from building up in lobbies.
"The season 2 finale drew solid numbers, earning a 0.8 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 4.58 million viewers, with the series averaging a 1.5 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers in live plus seven," says the report, citing Nielsen intel.
Created by Jeff Rake, the mystery-drama is modeled in the same vein of Lost, centering on a commercial flight that goes missing for a few hours — at least that's what it feels like for the passengers. When they finally land, the people onboard learn that five years have passed, with the world declaring them dead. The characters try to pick up lives that have moved on without them and grapple with the meaning behind their plane's odd disappearance.
Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas, Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise, Jack Messina, Parveen Kaur, and Matt Long co-star.
(SYFY WIRE and NBC are both owned by NBCUniversal)