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‘Avatar’ sequel delayed until 2017

Rather than rush things, director James Cameron said Wednesday he’s pushing back the release of the first of three “Avatar” sequels to 2017. That first film originally was scheduled to come out in 2016, but Cameron said the pressure of penning three “Avatar” sequels was so complex, he had to delay things.

Cameron plans to film the highly anticipated sequels at one time and then release the three films over consecutive years.

“There’s a layer of complexity in getting the story to work as a saga across three films that you don’t get when you’re making a stand-alone film,” he said in Wellington, New Zealand, where he was helping promote the local film industry with other directors including Peter Jackson.

“We’re writing three simultaneously. And we’ve done that so that everything tracks throughout the three films. We’re not just going to do one and then make up another one and another one after that,” he said. “And parallel with that, we’re doing all the design. So we’ve designed all the creatures and the environments.”

Cameron said he thought it was important that each film linked forward to the next one in a satisfying way but also came to a resolution so that the audience wasn’t left hanging.

Released in 2009, “Avatar” became the highest-grossing film in history, with a box-office take of nearly $2.8 billion. It also won three Academy Awards.