James Cameron, Cirque du Soleil Producing Live 'Avatar' Arena Show

Associated Press
James Cameron

UPDATED: It's the first time Cirque du Soleil has done a show based on a movie.

James Cameron and Cirque du Soleil are partnering to produce a live arena show inspired by the Avatar universe, the filmmaker and Cirque president-CEO Daniel Lamarre announced Thursday.

The touring show is expected to debut in late 2015 and will travel the globe ahead of the next film in Cameron's Avatar franchise, which is tentatively set to hit theaters in December 2016. 20th Century Fox, which is distributing and financing the Avatar movies, is also a partner on the arena event.

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Cirque du Soleil will develop the live experience in association with Cameron and Jon Landau's Lightstorm Entertainment.

Cameron, Lamarre and 20th Century Fox Film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos made the announcement in Montreal at the C2MTL Commerce and Creativity Conference.

Cirque du Soleil and Cameron are hardly strangers. The filmmaker was one of the producers of the 2012 3D documentary Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.

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"Over the years, I have discovered the extraordinary talents and imaginations of both the artists and the creative forces behind Cirque du Soleil," Cameron, who is currently in preproduction on the three Avatar sequels, said in a statement. "I know we share the common goal of bringing audiences to another level of entertainment experiences. I look forward to doing just that on this project."

Added Gianopulos: "As Jim Cameron prepares to take us to even greater heights with three new Avatar films, we're thrilled with the innovative experience he's developing in this groundbreaking agreement with Cirque du Soleil."  

Lightstorm and Cirque du Soleil are expected to announce a dedicated creative team at a later date.