James Cameron sets up “Avatar” shop in SoCal

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: James Cameron recently went on an exploratory trip to the rainforests of South America to research parts two and three of “Avatar.” Now it appears he’ll try and duplicate what he saw in Southern California.

As Cameron continues to prepare material for the back-to-back sequels to his massive 3D hit, 20th Century Fox has signed a lease for studio and office space in Manhattan Beach and “will use the facility for the motion capture photography and high-tech production” on the two films, THR reports.

“Production of the original ‘Avatar’ was centered in Playa Vista at a property now known as the Hercules Campus, named for the Spruce Goose, the mammoth airplane built there by Howard Hughes in the 1940s. During the film’s four years of production, Lightstorm remained headquartered at a three-story, 26,277-square-foot office building Santa Monica, but Cameron spent most of his time in Playa Vista. … If things go as planned, Cameron would consolidate his offices and studio into one location — down the coast from his Malibu home,” THR writes.

What a tremendous boost such a production would create for California’s economy. Kudos to Cameron for keeping his anticipated production in the States. (Live action shots on the original film were shot in New Zealand.)

Now get to work, sir. Fox has saddled you with a December 2014 release date for “Avatar 2” (that title, no doubt, will change), while the third “Avatar” is expected in theaters the following December.

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