20th Century Fox finally greenlights James Cameron's sci-fi epic ''Avatar,'' due in 2009

By Jeff Jensen
Updated January 15, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST
James Cameron: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

For all those in Hollywood who bet that James Cameron would never again make another movie… well, we hope you didn’t wager a lot of money. Because after nine long years of dusting his Titanic Oscars and carefully, methodically, and maybe even nervously plotting how to follow up one of the biggest cultural phenomenons ever to come out of Hollywood, the King of the World is officially back in the director’s chair. Twentieth Century Fox is announcing today that it has finalized a long-in-the-works deal to produce Cameron’s next project, a sci-fi epic entitled Avatar.

The movie is likely to be one of the most technically complex productions ever mounted, as it will make extensive use of cutting edge 3-D, computer animation, and motion capture f/x technology. (Think: how Peter Jackson brought Gollum and King Kong to life.) And by the time it arrives in theaters in the summer of 2009, the movie might be one of the most expensive movies ever made; Fox is said to have greenlit the film at $200 million.

What’s Avatar all about? According to previously published reports, it’s an original screenplay penned by Cameron that follows a battle-scarred war vet who travels to another planet inhabited by an alien race with a distinctly different language and culture from Earth. Conflicts ensue.

Cameron begins shooting Avatar in April. Check back with EW.com later today and in the days to come for additional coverage.