Film Notes: 3 'Avatar' sequels to film at same time

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"Avatar" isn't quite in "Star Wars" territory yet, but it is getting close, with plans for not two but three sequels.

Entertainment websites report 20th Century Fox and James Cameron now plan three additional movies.

Variety says Mr. Cameron will collaborate with screenwriters Josh Friedman ("War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes"), and Shane Salerno ("Savages," "Salinger") on the screenplays for "Avatar 2," "Avatar 3" and "Avatar 4."

In what sounds like an organizational puzzle and challenge of the highest order, the three movies will be filmed simultaneously. They will be released in December 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Mr. Cameron really is king of the box office, with "Avatar" and "Titanic" the all-time top grossing movies in North America and the world.

'Furnace' banked a week?

If you planned on seeing "Out of the Furnace" Thanksgiving weekend, you may have to exercise a little patience. TheWrap.com reports Relativity Media will release the movie Dec. 6. It had announced a Nov. 27 opening in select cities, with others to be added in subsequent weeks.

"Out of the Furnace," starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck as brothers, filmed in Braddock, North Braddock, Rankin and elsewhere in Western Pennsylvania for 30-plus days in 2012.

'WWZ' on IMAX

In a reversal of usual patterns, "World War Z" will be released into select IMAX theaters for a weeklong run starting today. The movie was digitally remastered into the IMAX 3-D format for the limited engagement, which will include the AMC-Loews at the Waterfront.

Brad Pitt stars as a former United Nations investigator pressed back into service to try to save his wife and two young daughters, along with the world, when a zombie pandemic strikes.

When "World War Z" opened in the United States June 21, it was available only in 2-D and 3-D, but it played in select IMAX theaters overseas.

Back in business

The Clearview Mall Cinemas have changed hands and will reopen today after being closed earlier this week, John Harper said Thursday.

He is one of the owners of the chain now operating the Clearview theater in Butler along with the Waterworks and Cranberry cinemas plus two theaters in Sharon, one in New Castle, one in Maryland and two in Ohio.

The theater will reopen with "The Lone Ranger," "Pacific Rim," "R.I.P.D.," "Monsters University" and "Man of Steel." Its showtimes will be listed on moviescoop.com.

Pricing, policies and staff should stay the same at the four-screen theater. "We'll have fresh candy, fresh popcorn and, hopefully, smiling faces and some good movies," Mr. Harper said.

Back to Broadway

Denzel Washington is returning to Broadway, the Associated Press reports.

Standing with his wife, Pauletta Pearson, on the red carpet Monday at the premiere his new movie, "2 Guns," the Oscar- and Tony-winning actor said he's set to appear in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun."

"We start previews in March," the actor said.

A pair of Oscar firsts

Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week by the Board of Governors. She is the first African-American in the job.

In related news, the Academy's Board of Governors announced the creation of the Casting Directors Branch. In recent decades, casting directors often were admitted as members at large.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.


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