Avatar director James Cameron said he still aims to make four sequels to the 2009 science-fiction blockbuster, despite the proposed sale of the studio bankrolling the series.
Cameron told reporters this weekend he was moving ahead with production while regulators reviewed the proposed sale of 21st Century Fox's film studio to Disney.
Cameron said he was about 100 days into filming the second and third Avatar installments under a deal with Fox. If those were successful, he planned to continue with the fourth and fifth movies, which he already had written.
"I'm personally committed to all of them," he said at the California studio where the sequels were being made.
Designs for creatures and characters for the four planned sequels were posted on walls inside the studio, Cameron said, but he did not show them to reporters.
"If you were Rupert Murdoch, you could go see them," he joked, adding: "Or Bob Iger."
Murdoch-owned Fox has committed to distributing the next movie in the franchise, but the film studio is in the process of being sold to Disney as part of a $52 billion deal. Disney chief executive officer Iger has not seen the designs for the sequels, Cameron said, because there are restrictions on their collaboration while the deal is under regulatory review.
Cameron spoke during an event to promote a six-part series on cable network AMC about the history of science fiction in movies called AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction.
Avatar, the story of a blue, humanoid race on a lush moon known as Pandora, is the highest-grossing movie in history with $US2.8 billion in global ticket sales. The second Avatar film is scheduled for release in December 2020.
Cameron described the future Avatar movies as "a generational family saga."
"I found myself as a father of five trying to think about what would an Avatar story be like if it were a family drama, if it was The Godfather, he said. "Obviously it's a very different genre. It's a very different story, but I got intrigued by that idea."
"So this could be the seeds of utter damnation and doom for the project, or it could be the thing that makes it stand apart and continue to be unique," he added. "Nobody knows until you make the movie and put it out."