Movie News & Reviews

June 5, 2014

How James Cameron is pulling off three ‘Avatars’ in a row

James Cameron is making sure we’ll get a steady supply of “Avatar,” his 2009 blue-alien blockbuster, with a Cirque du Soleil show and three sequels in a row.

Blue Christmases

James Cameron is making sure we’ll get a steady supply of “Avatar,” his 2009 blue-alien blockbuster. Last week he announced a live Cirque du Soleil “Avatar” extravaganza debuting in 2015. Now he says he’ll deliver an “Avatar” sequel every December in 2016, 2017 and 2018. How will he pull that off? He plans to shoot the three movies simultaneously, says “The first thing I did was sat for a year and wrote 1,500 pages of notes of the world and the cultures and the different clans and different animals and different biomes and so on,” Cameron says. Then he hired four writers to work with him on the three scripts: “We sat in the writing room for five months, eight hours a day, and we worked out every beat of the story across all three films so it all connects as one, sort of, three-film saga.”

What’s in a name

For a long time, Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow” went by the name of the novel it’s based on, “All You Need Is Kill.” The studio figured that wouldn’t go over well with audiences. Good call. Here, from The Hollywood Reporter, are other movies that changed their titles:

“Pretty Woman”: Julia Roberts’ breakthrough movie began as “3000,” named for the cost of hiring a prostitute for a week of services.

“Begin Again”: At last fall’s Toronto Film Festival, audiences loved this drama starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. But they thought its title then — “Can a Song Save Your Life?” — had little to do with the movie. “Begin Again” opens in Kansas City July 2.

“Hancock”: Will Smith’s alcoholic superhero adventure started as “Tonight, He Comes.” Cringe.

Head games

Speaking of Will Smith, the star is ready to tackle the NFL’s concussion problem, says Variety. He’s in talks to star in a drama based on the GQ article “Game Brain,” playing a neuropathologist who pointed out the dangers of butting your head into a 300-pound lineman over and over. Meanwhile, other football concussion movies are in the works: one based on the book “League Of Denial” and the other an indie drama starring Isaiah Washington.

Movie shorts

Doctor Strange, Marvel’s lastest superhero to get the big-screen treatment, now has a director: Scott Derrickson of “Sinister,” says Variety. The good doctor is a neurosurgeon-turned-sorcerer who protects Earth against magical enemies.

Six weeks before it was set to hit theaters, “Jupiter Ascending,” the $150 million sci-fi epic starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, got bumped to next February, says The Hollywood Reporter. Directors Lana and Andy Wachowski reportedly needed more time for the special effects.

Josh Trank (“Chronicle,” “The Fantastic Four” reboot) will direct one of the planned spin-off “Star Wars” films that aren’t part of the new trilogy. (The other will be directed by “Godzilla’s” Gareth Edwards.)

Oliver Stone will direct a drama about NSA leaker Edward Snowden, based on a book by a journalist at London’s “The Guardian.”

| Sharon Hoffmann,

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