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James Cameron starts filming Avatar 2 in California


Filmmaker James Cameron has started filming the first of four planned Avatar sequels at Manhattan Beach Studios in California, according to Deadline.

Cameron is expected to divide physical production between California and New Zealand, with a combined budget that reportedly surpasses a billion dollars for all four movies.

Avatar was released in 2009 and told the story of humans exploring an alien planet by transferring their consciousness to alternate ‘avatar’ bodies.

Cameron and his team pioneered advanced motion capture technology in 3D to create a visual spectacle that powered the film to become the most successful in history, making $2.7bn.

The US leg of the shoot coincides with the release of a new report from the California Film Commission revealing that the state’s filming incentive has brought $3.7bn in direct production spending to the state since it was expanded two years ago as the colloquially-named ‘Programme 2.0’.

“The encouraging short-term results we reported in last year’s annual report have evolved into sustained and very encouraging long-term results for Programme 2.0,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission.

“The expanded tax credit programme is working as intended and having a real impact.”

Transformers spinoff Bumblebee was the largest California shoot in the 2016-17 financial year, spending $102m and getting tax credit support of $22m. Series Two of Westworld was the next biggest, claiming tax credits worth just under $18m on California spending of $87m.

Superhero movie Captain Marvel is currently on track to be the biggest film in California for 2017-18. Producers are scheduled to shoot in California for 70 days in the next year and have reserved tax credit support of nearly $21m on a $118m production spend. 

To read KFTV's California production guide click here.

Images: WETA/20th Century Fox