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Disney to bring ‘Avatar’ to theme parks

LOS ANGELES (AFP) ― Disney and filmmaker James Cameron announced plans Tuesday to bring the world of the Oscar-winning movie “Avatar” to the entertainment giant’s theme parks.

The first “Avatar” land will open at the Walt Disney World in Florida, with construction due to begin by 2013, said Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide, Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment.

“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Disney president and chief executive Robert Iger.
Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company (right) and filmmaker James Cameron announce plans to open an Avatar-themed land, first at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, and later at other Disney theme parks, at a news conference at Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California, Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap News)
Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company (right) and filmmaker James Cameron announce plans to open an Avatar-themed land, first at Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida, and later at other Disney theme parks, at a news conference at Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California, Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap News)

Cameron added: “I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our ‘Avatar’ universe to life.

“Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of ‘Avatar’ with an unprecedented sense of reality.”

The deal gives Disney exclusive theme park rights to the “Avatar” franchise, which it hopes to bring to other locations in due course.

“We’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said Cameron, who plans two more sequels to “Avatar,” the 2009 movie seen as a landmark in the use of 3-D movie-making techniques.

“Avatar” won Academy Awards for cinematography, art direct and visual effects, but lost out in the race for best picture.

The $500 million epic has been hailed as a cinematic milestone for its use of state-of-the-art 3-D cameras and motion capture technology which Cameron was instrumental in helping to develop.

Set on a distant planet called Pandora, in the heart of a vast tropical forest, it recounts how strife erupts between an indigenous tribe and an Earth-based consortium pillaging for a precious mineral.
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