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The Avatar franchise will carry on for at least four more films, after James Cameron announced a fifth instalment would be released in 2023. The Oscar-winning director had already committed to three sequels but revealed he had too much material to tell the story in only three films.

Globally, Avatar remains the most successful film of all time, having taken $2.7bn since its release in 2009. The first sequel is due in 2018, with follow ups in 2020, 2022 and 2023.

Speaking at CinemaCon, Cameron said: “We have decided to embark on a truly massive cinematic process.” I’ve been working the last couple of years with a team of four top screenwriters to design the world of Avatar going forward: The characters, the creatures, the environment, new cultures. “So far, the art I am seeing is in pure imagination, really far beyond the first film. It’s going to be a true epic saga.”

At the 20th Century Fox event, it was also confirmed there would a sequel to the hugely successful Deadpool, which stars Ryan Reynolds as a foul-mouthed superhero. The film, released in February, took more than $757m worldwide. For the past several years, Cameron and a team of writers and designers have been working on the scripts and designs for several new Avatar movies. First he was planning it as a trilogy, then as a series of four, and now it’s five. At CinemaCon, Cameron said that the stories he and his writers were developing kept growing bigger and bigger. And when you’re following up the highest grossing film of all time, the company is fine with that. Cameron said that the few people who have seen the designs he and his team are working on have been left speechless. “The pure imagination is far beyond the first film,” he said. There will be new characters, new creatures, new environments, new cultures, and more. A quick flurry of concept art flickered on the screen, and there was Na’vi jumping off cliffs, flying over oceans, burning ships. Now we’ll see if the filmmaker, whose been working on these movies for several years already, can just stop and make them.