James Cameron Set to Make Avatar 2 and 3 for Fox

No. 1: Avatar, 2009
© 20th Century Fox

James Cameron's "Avatar" has earned $2,778,307,594.

Sequels are set for release in late 2014 and 2015.

UPDATED 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010

James Cameron has committed to making two sequels to his record-breaking 3D epic "Avatar" for Fox. The movies are scheduled for release in late 2014 and 2015, which means he won't direct other features for the next three or four years.

The writer-director had conversations with Columbia about directing "Cleopatra," starring Angelina Jolie, but that possibility is off the table, meaning the studio will have to look for another director.

But Cameron has two major projects he is producing during the next few years: Guillermo del Toro's "At the Mountains of Madness" for Universal and a remake of "Fantastic Voyage" that Laeta Kalogridis is rewriting for Fox and Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment.

For the time being, however, he will dive back into writing screenplays for more stories that take place on Pandora. His first film about that invented world and its natives' struggles for survival in the face of greedy Earth capitalists grossed $2.8 billion worldwide after it was released in December.

"We'll continue to follow the same people on the same planet," producer Jon Landau said Wednesday during Paul Kagan's 3D Media Markets conference in New York. But, he allowed, "We might go underwater."

The filmmakers plan to shoot the movies back to back with much of the same cast. Asked whether stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana had signed for the sequels, Landau said, "We won't have a problem."

The ongoing "Avatar" chapters will be the CAA-repped Cameron's ninth and 10th features as a writer-director; he also made "True Lies," "The Terminator," "Aliens" and "The Abyss."

Fox also is moving forward with converted 3D rereleases of Cameron's "Titanic" and George Lucas' "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace." Both are tentatively set for spring 2012 openings.

Jay A. Fernandez reported from Los Angeles; Georg Szalai reported from New York.