'Avatar 2' to resume filming in New Zealand and multiple productions will pick up again in June amid lockdowns
The Hollywood machinery came to grinding halt as the coronavirus pandemic gripped not just the U.S., but also nearly the whole world. The research firm Ampere Analysis estimated in a recent report that the global entertainment sector is set to lose almost $160 billion of growth as a result of the pandemic over the next five years.
Even as things look bleak for the entertainment industry, signs of life have begun to show. On Friday, May 22, it was reported that the production for the ‘Avatar’ sequel would begin again in the coming week in New Zealand.
“Our #Avatar sets are ready -- and we couldn’t be more excited to be headed back to New Zealand next week,” producer Jon Landau wrote on Instagram Friday. ‘Avatar 2’, directed by James Cameron is set for release on December 17, 2021, as of yet. Reportedly, however, the director is filming four sequels of the 2009 global hit simultaneously. The third, fourth, and fifth films are scheduled for December 2023, December 2025, and December 2027 releases.
But ‘Avatar’ isn’t the only project to display resilience against the pandemic. Variety reported earlier this month that actor, filmmaker, and producer Tyler Perry too is soon to restart production at his Atlanta-based Tyler Perry Studios. Production for the second season of the BET show ‘Sistas’ will begin on July 8, and ‘The Oval’ will begin three weeks after that.
Frank Patterson, the CEO of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where ‘Black Panther’, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and other big titles have been shot, has reportedly set a restart deadline of June 1 and has spent more than $1 million so far on hospital-grade HVAC upgrades, hand-washing stations and security measures to reduce risk of infection.
June seems to be a magical month in that regard. Variety reported that Iceland announced that it would open its borders to international crews and talent on June 15. British Columbia too announced that production there can begin in June.
Things could also be looking up for a popular Netflix show. Deadline reported on Friday, May 22, that Netflix is drawing up plans to get its UK shows back into production, among which is the teen dramedy series ‘Sex Education’, which is slated to go into production in August for the third season.
'Sex Education' was originally due to begin production in May, but the plans were put on hold as Wales, where the shooting for the show happens, is currently in lockdown. Deadline further reported that the BBC soap ‘EastEnders’ and the ITV series ‘Emmerdale’ will be filming again in the coming weeks.
It’s still a long road. Heavyweight productions like ‘The Batman’ and ‘Mission Impossible 7’ are still on hold. But things are definitely starting to look up. Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom, in a roundtable that included Ted Sarandos, Ava DuVernay, Tom Steyer, and Jon Huertas, said that he believed the state was mere days away from new guidelines to further open up Hollywood. These guidelines, to be released coming Monday, will reportedly allow film and television production to resume again.