Film Fanatic: ‘Avatar 2’ Removed From Release Date, Johnny Depp Returns to Crime


Film Fanatic


‘Avatar 2’ Removed From Release Date

By the time Avatar 2 finally hits theaters, it will have been at least eight years since the original was released in December 2009. You would think that would be enough time for director James Cameron to release a sequel. Apparently it isn’t because 20th Century Fox has officially pulled Avatar 2 from its December 2017 release date and no new release date has been announced.

There are two ways to look at this news: One, Cameron is one of only a handful of directors in Hollywood who can take as much time as he wants to make a movie so Fox could just be giving him all the time in the world to lock down his new trilogy of films. He has made the two most successful movies financially in the history of cinema (Titanic, Avatar) so he certainly has some slack on the rope.

James Cameron -
James Cameron on the set of ‘Avatar.’ | (

The second way to look at this and probably the correct one is that another giant movie recently announced their presence with authority by buying real estate space in December 2017. Just a few days ago in fact, Disney officially pushed Star Wars: Episode VIII from its original May 2017 release date to December 15th, 2017. Coincidence, I think not.

Avatar is the biggest franchise Fox owns and with Disney all but officially staking claim to the month of December for the foreseeable future, Fox probably decided it was in their best interest to move the film to another release date. When exactly is hard to say. Summer would be an obvious choice, but perhaps they would release it a month early in November 2017 to get ahead of the Star Wars crowd.

At the time of its release, Avatar was one of those “event” films you had to see on the big screen regardless of how good it was. It was also the beginning of the 3D explosion and Avatar remains to this day the best 3D movie ever released because it was actually filmed with 3D cameras. Now nearly every blockbuster is post-converted into 3D, but the average movie-goer doesn’t know the difference. After nearly a decade between films, will Avatar 2 get lost in the 3D shuffle? Probably not. It will be a massive success, but not quite as big as the original. But now it can stay away from Star Wars which is probably what every studio is thinking about with their respective franchises.


Christopher McQuarrie Brought in to “Save” ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Script

Speaking of Star Wars news, this story might concern some fans of the upcoming Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

According to Birth.Movies.Death, writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has been brought in to quote “save” the project. If you look up “save” in the dictionary, the first thing it says is, “to preserve from danger.”  Yikes! Save is a strong word but then again, what major motion picture doesn’t go through countless rewrites? The Force Awakens went through at least three writers and that film turned out great.

Director Christopher McQuarrie on the set of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation from Paramount Pictures and SKydance Productions.
Christopher McQuarrie on the set of ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ | (Paramount Pictures)

Gary Whitta was the original screenwriter of the Gareth Edwards-directed Rogue One, but he eventually moved on to another project. Chris Weitz was then brought on before McQuarrie’s arrival. The overall structure of the story is apparently strong so perhaps McQuarrie’s involvement is for minor touch ups.

But fear not Star Wars fan because McQuarrie has sort of become the screenwriting safety net. He was brought in to “actually save” the third act of World War Z and he had a hand in Edge of Tomorrow. He also recently wrote and directed the highly enjoyable and successful Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It turned out so well, he’s returning for M:I 6 marking the first time that a director will be returning to make another Mission: Impossible.

Rogue One is a heist film following a group of rebels working to steal plans to the Death Star. The film stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker and Diego Luna. The film will be released on December 16th.


Johnny Depp in Talks to Star with Tom Hanks in Crime Thriller ‘Triple Frontier’

The slow process of rehabilitating Johhny Depp’s movie star career began with the good but not great Black Mass late last year. It was a welcomed change of pace for the actor who had starred in a number of dreadful movies ranging from downright boring (The Tourist, Transcendence) to goofy and over the top (Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger, Mortdecai) and his acting in them reflected how dismal they were.

Black Mass was a return to dramatic acting for Depp and while the film didn’t earn Depp an Oscar nomination, it at least reminded us all that he still has that kind of range. I mean, how many actors can play both an eccentric pirate and a ruthless real-life crime boss?

Depp loved working on the film and it appears he may be returning to the world of crime. According to Variety, Depp is in early talks to star with Tom Hanks in the drama Triple Frontier. The title refers to the border zone Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, which is a haven for organized crime.

Johnny Depp -Warner Bros.
Johnny Depp was hopefully pondering his future acting gigs in this scene. | (Warner Bros.)

The film has endured a long road to making it to the big screen. The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty collaborators Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal planned to re-team for the crime thriller way back in 2009. But Bigelow’s reported $80 million budget demand was turned down by the studio because she wouldn’t cast Will Smith in the lead.

Bigelow eventually left the project and J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, All is Lost) has been hired to take over directing duties. Boal’s script is still in play and now both Hanks and Depp could be working together for the first time.

But it’s going to be awhile before we see Depp in a project like this as his next two major films will be more sequels (Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales). So I guess we’ll have to endure a couple more retreads before Depp gives another original and hopefully good performance.


Passionate about movies, sports and writing, Ryan hails from Bend but lives in Springfield now. He earned his college degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and hopes to one day write a novel. He also enjoys sunsets and long walks on the beach.

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