Cameron to film three Avatar sequels in New Zealand

WELLINGTON - Director James Cameron announced Monday he will film three sequels to his record-breaking epic "Avatar" in New Zealand after striking a deal with the government for increased production subsidies.

Cameron said the movies, with a combined budget of at least NZ$500 million (S$520.8 million), would be shot back-to-back and released from late 2016.

Aside from an increased subsidy that will account for up to 25 per cent of the films' budget, Cameron said New Zealand offered highly skilled production crews and world-class special effects.

"I've worked with crews all over the world, quite a bit in the US and Canada, and you don't have that same spark," he said.

The original "Avatar", released in 2009, remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, earning US$2.78 billion worldwide, according to industry website