Avatar Crew Returning to New Zealand to Resume Production After Coronavirus Shutdown
A small crew will be returning to New Zealand this week to resume production on the Avatar sequels.
Producer Jon Landau revealed the news on his Instagram, confirming the movie's sets are ready for them to return sometime this week. The picture showed off two of the ships that will be used in the new movies, which were forced to shut down production in March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"Our #Avatar sets are ready — and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week. Check out the Matador, a high speed forward command vessel (bottom) and the Picador jetboat (top) — can’t wait to share more," his caption read.
According to an interview Landau gave to local outlet RNZ, a small crew will be observing a strict two-week quarantine before returning to work. New Zealand is starting to open again after successfully containing the spread of COVID-19, as the rest of the world still reckons with the pandemic.
"We feel very comfortable because of the actions of your government and also the responsibility the people took to really curb the virus there," Landau said of returning. "So we feel we're coming back to the safest place in the world possible thanks to a team of people that we've worked with. We believe we have a very thoughtful, detailed and diligent safety plan that will keep everybody as safe as possible in these unprecedented times."
Earlier this month, Deadline reported productions could start back up in New Zealand, as the country had approved new health and safety production protocols. The outlet also confirmed some TV and movie productions are already underway.
Visual effects on the films continued to be worked on amid the filming delay, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The outlet reported the four announced sequels, which are all being shot at the same time, are budgeted at around $1 billion.
The first Avatar sequel is still slated for a December 2021 release. Three more sequels are expected to follow in 2023, 2025 and 2027.
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