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.
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.
Disney has licensed exclusive global rights to the Avatar franchise from Fox and James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment — and the director will help to develop the attractions, CEO Bob Iger says. The first will be at Animal Kingdom in Orlando. The goal, he says, is to enable visitors to “enter the Avatar universe and explore it first-hand.” Cameron adds that “to bring that to life at Animal Kingdom is fantastic because it’s so thematically aligned. … We want to do things that maybe they haven’t even thought of.” Tom Staggs, who runs Disney’s theme parks, says the company is “just beginning the development phase” for a complex that will begin construction in 2013 and include Avatar-themed shops and food destinations to “bring that world to life.” Although he wouldn’t say how much the company has budgeted, he compared the scope of the first project to the 12-acre Cars Land site at Disney California Adventure Park. Cameron is working on two Avatar sequels that he plans to release around Christmas 2014 and 2015. ”That seems to correspond well” with the park plans, he says — noting that the destination will include environmental features that don’t appear in the movie. Iger says the attraction will open after the movies, although “we’re in the ballpark.” Avatar will add jobs in the ”low single digit thousands,” Staggs says. Here’s the release:
BURBANK, Calif. — Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks. Through an exclusive agreement announced today by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand. Disney plans to build the first AVATAR themed land at Walt Disney World, within the Animal Kingdom park. With its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the AVATAR stories, which share the same philosophy. Construction is expected to begin by 2013.
LOS ANGELES (August 9, 2011) __ Kathy Franklin has been named President of Franchise Development at Lightstorm Entertainment. Announced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, the hire signifies Lightstorm’s commitment, in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox, to building the franchise and brand of AVATAR beyond the traditional licensing and merchandising avenues.
Cameron commented, “Anticipating the exponential growth of the Avatar universe, we looked for someone who could lead a team that will cement Avatar as a world class brand across all platforms and markets. Kathy’s experience, coupled with her drive and vision for what Avatar can be, made her the right choice.”
Franklin is a seasoned leader with a proven record of designing and implementing industry-leading branding, growth and communications strategies. As Vice President of Global Studio Franchise Development for Disney Consumer Products, she led the strategies that drove the Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Cars and Toy Story franchises while building integrated partnerships with film, television, and online divisions of The Walt Disney Company. Before that, Franklin was Vice President of Disney Worldwide Outreach, during which she ran marketing and communications for all corporate philanthropic outreach and charitable giving. Franklin’s first position at Disney was Director of Disney Learning Partnership, a philanthropy focused on supporting creative approaches to teaching and learning, which she helped launch and for which Franklin created DisneyLearning.org and executive produced “The Creative Classroom Series,” an award-winning set of videos and educator guides.