FILE PHOTO: World Premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 09/12/2017 – Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger and actress Daisy Ridley. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co on Tuesday pushed back the release of science-fiction sequel “Avatar 2” by a year to December 2021 and announced it will debut new “Star Wars” films in December 2022, 2024 and 2026.
Disney acquired the “Avatar” franchise and several other films through its recent purchase of film and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
“Avatar 2,” the follow-up to the 2009 blockbuster that is the highest-grossing film of all time, had originally been slated for release in 2014 but was delayed to 2017 and then to December 2020.
Disney said the second installment would be followed by “Avatar 3” in December 2023, “Avatar 4” in December 2025 and “Avatar 5” in December 2027.
A year ago, director James Cameron told reporters he had begun filming on the second and third “Avatar” movies and had written the fourth and fifth films in the series.
“Avatar,” the story of a blue, humanoid race on a lush moon known as Pandora, is the highest-grossing movie in history with $2.8 billion in global ticket sales, though box office experts say its long-standing record could soon fall to current Disney hit “Avengers: Endgame” from Marvel Studios.
Disney did not reveal details about the coming “Star Wars” movies. The company has previously announced plans for two film series – one overseen by “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson and another to be written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of HBO’s hit television show “Game of Thrones.”
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Nick Zieminski