Studio City, California – December 2, 2013 –The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) today announces that will it be honoring James Cameron with its MPSE Filmmaker Award at the 61ST MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony. The honor is bestowed upon extraordinary filmmakers who embody the spirit, the vigor and innovation of storytelling. Cameron will accept his award at the MPSE Golden Reel Awards ceremony held on February 16 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, Los Angeles.
James Cameron has won a string of Avatar legal battles recently but it looks like The Trademark Trial and Appeals Board isn’t going to be one of them. Already turned down once, 20th Century Fox was again refused its request to register the “Pandorapedia” name as a trademark on a planned Avatar-related clothing line of tagged T-shirts, PJs and more. The TTAB denied the studio’s appeal on the trademark earlier this month, saying it was too close to the trademark already used by Pandora Sportswear Corp. “We find that the marks PANDORA and PANDORAPEDIA are similar and thus…favors a finding of likelihood of confusion,” said the TTAB in its 8-page opinion (read it here). The opinion was sent out to Fox on November 8.
A fatal accident back in February 2012 on the documentary DeepSea Challenge has ended up in LA Superior Court. The estate of Michael deGruy on Monday filed a wrongful death and survival claims complaint (read it here) naming James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment as well as Earthship Productions and Cameron Pace Group as defendants. The Oscar-winning director is not named as a defendant. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified punitive damages as well as pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages to be determined in a 20-day jury trial. DeGruy was on a helicopter that crashed on February 4, 2012, off the coast of Australia during the filming of Cameron’s documentary. Both deGruy and pilot Andrew Wright were killed in the crash and resulting fire. DeGruy had hopped on the chopper to go to a nearby location to film the ocean decent of the specially equipped submarine. The plaintiffs are very clear whose fault they believe that accident was. “The Cameron Defendants, GWP and Does 51-100 knew or should have known that Andrew Wight was incompetent or unfit to fly the subject helicopter and that the subject helicopter was not crashworthy and its design posed a risk of severe injury and/or death in the event of a crash,” the 45-page complaint says.
EXCLUSIVE: Even though Stephen Lang‘s Col. Miles Quaritch character seemed to have run his course in 20th Century Fox’s Avatar, director James Cameron has revealed that Lang is not only returning for the sequel, he’s going to be part of the next three films. It sounds like he’s the closest thing to a mix between Star Wars‘ Darth Vader and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character. “Steven was so memorable in the first film, we’re privileged to have him back,” Cameron said. “I’m not going to say exactly how we’re bringing him back, but it’s a science fiction story, after all. His character will evolve into really unexpected places across the arc of our new three-film saga. I really look forward to working with such a gifted actor, who’s also become a good friend.”
Cameron has been working out brainy plot details throughout his career — how many times has the time travel concept from the original Terminator film been swiped over the years — so I’ll bet he’s come up with something thrilling. As for Lang, he’s been turning in memorable performances since going back to the Michael Mann TV series Crime Story and in character roles in films like White Irish Drinkers. Good on Lang, who’s repped by Innovative.
It’s been two years since Disney announced its deal to add Avatar-licensed attractions to its parks, but over the weekend at D23 in Tokyo the company finally jumpstarted the countdown clock to 2017. Here’s a peek at Disney’s plans to bring James Cameron‘s Pandora to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom by 2017 complete with a bioluminescent jungle cruise, floating mountains, a new nighttime spectacular, and a flying Banshee simulator attraction:
They won’t be in 3-D but you can hold them in your hand in either tablet or hardcover. Fox and James Cameron said today that Jumper author Steven Charles Gould has been brought on board to pen four Avatar novels based on and expanding on the blockbuster 2009 movie …
EXCLUSIVE: James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have upped the number of Avatar sequels they’ll make from two to three, and they’ve set three high-level screenwriters (one is a team) to get the movies in shape to be shot simultaneously. That is easily a recipe for the most expensive set of pictures ever made, and an ambitious production plan not seen since New Line and Peter Jackson made three The Lord Of The Rings films back to back. Back then, Jackson was coming off The Frighteners. Fox at least has the confidence of knowing Cameron’s last two films are the biggest-grossing pictures in movie history, with Avatar at the top by a wide margin. It’s still a gutsy play; it is not unimaginable that three Avatar installments could cost close to $1 billion. The original grossed $2.8 billion.
Cameron has set War Of The Worlds scribe Josh Friedman to write one film; Rise Of Planet Of The Apes‘ Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver to write another; with the third to be written by Shane Salerno, who wrote and directed the upcoming documentary Salinger and who previously worked with Cameron on a remake of Fantastic Voyage at Fox. The writers will collaborate with Cameron separately and co-write three separate movies with him.
The three pictures will be filmed simultaneously with production beginning next year. The release of the first sequel will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later. Avatar 2, 3, and 4 will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment banner. Lightstorm will work once again with Joe Letteri and his team at WETA Digital on the three films.
The choice of writers came after Cameron and Landau spent weeks meeting with A-list screenwriters vying for the job. They’ve been working with Cameron from his Manhattan Beach studio.
The highest-grossing movie of all time is again the subject of a copyright legal battle. Artist William Roger Dean filed a complaint against James Cameron and 20th Century Fox on Thursday seeking more than $50 million in damages over Avatar. Unlike past Avatar plaintiffs, Dean has an established pedigree. He is a well known artist who has created album covers for such big-selling bands as Yes and Asia and exhibited his fantasy landscapes and other work around the world. In fact, it is the ubiquity of his work, as well as a movie proposal based on it that he took at the 2005 Cannes Film Fest, that has Dean convinced the look of the 2009 3D sci-fi film were derived from his images. “The similarities of each such work are substantial, continuing, and direct so as to rule out any accidental copying or similarity in scenes common to the genre. The infringing portions of Avatar are so similar to Plaintiffs Works that Defendants and others employed in the preparation of the film must have had access to the Plaintiffs Works,” says his 17-page complaint (read it here) filed June 27 in U.S District Court in New York. The filing cites numerous specific examples from the world of Pandora to the foliage and creatures that populate it where Dean sees his own work. Along with copyright infringement, Dean also is claiming contributory infringement, breach of implied contact, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
The fallout from Digital Domain Media Group’s bankruptcy continues with investors in the troubled special effects and 3D conversion firm taking the former CEO, the company’s auditors and other executives to court for fraud. Having lost millions in the James Cameron-founded company just before it went under last September, Iroquois Master Fund and Kingsbrook Opportunities Master Fund late last week filed a six claim complaint (read it here) against John Textor, his wife Deborah, various DDMG directors and auditors SingerLewak LLP. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages as well as interest, legal fees and “such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.” The complaint in New York State Supreme Court alleges common law fraud, aiding and abetting fraud, negligent misrepresentations and omissions, negligence, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and civil conspiracy.
Producer Jon Landau revealed today at the 2013 NAB Technology Summit on Cinema that Jim Cameron “will do performance capture in water” on the sequels to his 2009 Fox megahit. “We want to take advantage of the technologies brilliant people are putting out to make the next two movies even more emotionally engaging and visually tantalizing, and to really wrap up the story arc of our two main characters”, Landau said in his keynote chat today. The filmmakers are currently exploring technologies to allow for underwater capture of actors’ performances “because we can simulate it visually but can’t simulate it experientially for them”.
A year ago this week, James Cameron was seven miles beneath the ocean’s surface for the Deepsea Challenge. The unique research and exploration project took him to the bottom of the Challenger Deep — the …
James Cameron and Fox today did not get their request for a total dismissal of Bryant Moore’s $2.5 billion lawsuit claiming that Avatar was stolen from his scripts. The defendants did get some legal traction when federal Judge Roger W. Titus granted a motion Monday to dismiss the breach of implied contract claim in Moore’s 2011 suit. However, he did not dismiss Moore’s copyright claims in the hearing in the Southern District of Maryland over the 3D blockbuster. The ruling means the jury trial-requested case will go forward, with discovery to occur next during the next four to six months.
Moore sued the director, his Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation on December 19, 2011. The writer claimed that copies of his Aquatica and Descendants: The Pollination screenplays made their way to Cameron in 1993 and 1994 through Lightstorm production assistants. Though Moore says he was eventually told the company did not accept the submissions, he found “striking substantial similarities” between his scripts and 2009’s Avatar. Cameron has said in court filings that he had Avatar mapped out in a detailed scriptment before any such materials by Moore were submitted to his company. Moore is seeking $1.5 billion in profits and another $1 billion in punitive damages.
James Cameron‘s company Lightstorm Entertainment has acquired film rights to the 2011 novel The Informationist by Taylor Stevens to put on Cameron’s to-direct list after he finishes the second and third Avatar sequels. Those are currently in preproduction. 20th Century Fox will release the film, which will be produced by Cameron and his Lightstorm partner Jon Landau, who will soon go out to writers for the adaptation.
The Informationist, which came out in October 2011, centers on Vanessa “Michael” Munroe, an information specialist whose work is in-demand by corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. When a Texas oil billionaire hires her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood. Betrayed, cut off from civilization and left for dead, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget. A second Munroe novel, The Innocent, was published this year.
Ron Meyer turns 68 on Tuesday. So on the eve of his birthday, he finally made a public statement about the August rumors that he would be involuntarily or voluntarily exiting his job at Universal Studios soon. On a panel at the inaugural symposium of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy this …
Arnold Schwarzenegger held his inaugural symposium of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy this afternoon. James Cameron was scheduled to attend but was a no-show – described as “on a creative roll” working on the script for the Avatar sequel – despite prior billing and decades working with Arnold on movies like The Terminator and True Lies. Universal Studios President/COO Ron Meyer joined the former Governor as well as Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, Imagine Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer, and American Idol mentor/Interscope Records boss Jimmy Iovine on “The Power Of People and Innovation — Media/Hollywood Leader’s Perspectives” panel.