Following the soft re-opening of Disney Springs last week, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is looking to open up its different parks, starting on Saturday, July 11. Per Variety, Disney and SeaWorld executives submitted re-opening proposals to Florida’s Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, both of which were approved.
Magic Kingdom (the park we all think of when we think of Disney World) and Animal Kingdom will welcome customers back on the 11th, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios (which includes Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge) following suit a few days later on Wednesday, the 15th. SeaWorld, on the other hand, is set to splash back down Thursday, June 11.
Naturally, there are to be plenty of health restrictions and protocols in place in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Temperature checks upon arrival, social distancing while inside the parks, contactless payments, mobile food orders, sanitization stations, and reduced capacities will be par for the course. Meet-and-greets with costumed characters, parades, and playgrounds for kids are temporarily suspended.
James Cameron's Avatar sequels resumed production in New Zealand this week and when it rains, it pours. Thanks to executive producer Jon Landau (who confirmed that filming was starting back up in the first place), we now have some delicious story details about Avatar 2, which is slated to hit theaters everywhere next December.
"This is the story of the Sully family and what one does to keep their family together," he told Radio New Zealand. "Jake and Neytiri have a family in this movie, they are forced to leave their home, they go out and explore the different regions of Pandora, including spending quite a bit of time on the water, around the water, in the water. I think, why do people turn to entertainment today, more so than ever? I think it's to escape, to escape the world we're in, to escape the other pressures they have in their lives."
Very interesting. This confirms that Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) did indeed settle down after Jake transferred his consciousness into an avatar body at the end of the first movie. We already knew that the next four films would explore different areas and Na'vi tribes on Pandora, but it's nice to know that the stakes are much bigger, now that the protagonists presumably have vulnerable children to look after on their next adventure.
"I think with Avatar, we have an opportunity to allow people to escape to an incredible world with incredible characters that they will follow, in much the same way as Peter Jackson was able to do with Lord of the Rings, so that's what we're looking forward to doing," Landau added, confirming that the film crew is smaller than it was before the pandemic.
Recently speaking with Empire Magazine, Cameron said that he didn't believe the production delay would affect the sequels' various release dates, which range between 2021 and 2027.
Another big franchise that's trying to eke by amid the shutdown is Wes Ball's high-profile continuation of the Planet of the Apes series. During an interview with Discussing Film, the Maze Runner vet confirmed that the script is still being worked on by Josh Friedman, a prolific genre scribe who actually co-wrote the second Avatar with James Cameron.
Plenty of concept art is also being produced and Ball is hopeful that a virtual production can kick off "relatively soon because it’s largely a CG movie." When asked how his interpretation on the IP would relate to the simian story established by Matt Reeves' recent Apes reboot trilogy, the director hinted at new take that will be reverent at the same time.
"They honored the original movies they sprang from, the Charlton Heston movies, but they grounded it in a modern sensibility and it just worked," Ball said. "Caesar is one of the great movie characters that we’ll have throughout time. So what do you do to follow that up, right? At the same time, I wasn’t interested in doing a part four either. We want to also do our own thing."
"We have a take. We have a way of staying in the universe that was created before us, but we’re also opening ourselves up in being able to do some really cool new stuff," the director continued. "Again, I’m trying to be careful here. I’ll say this, for fans of the original three don’t worry – you’re in good hands. The original writers and producers that came up with Rise and Dawn, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, they’re also on board with this. Josh Friedman is writing this thing, a lot of the same crew is kind of involved. We will feel like we’re part of that original trilogy, but at the same time we’re able to do some really cool new stuff. It will be really exciting to see on the biggest screen possible."
The project is also set to utilize the groundbreaking motion capture/CG tech that was going to be used on Ball's scrapped Mouse Guard film.