10785 – Yes, even with the writer’s strike, there will still be new films in 2009!!!

Fox delays Cameron 3-D movie until end of 2009
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – James Cameron’s 3-D feature “Avatar,” which was scheduled for Memorial Day 2009, has been pushed back seven months to December 18 — almost 12 years to the day since the director’s “Titanic” set sail.
Fox announced the change Tuesday in a revamp of its 2009 tentpole lineup. The Ben Stiller sequel “Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian” will take over the May 22 spot that originally was reserved for “Avatar.”
The studio also said that “Ice Age 3,” opening July 1, will be released in 3-D. Rounding out the slate is the May 1 release of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” the fourth installment in the successful “X-Men” franchise.
The “Avatar” move comes about four months after DreamWorks Animation said that it was moving Paramount’s 2009 release of the 3-D animated feature “Monsters vs. Aliens” from May 15 to March 27 to avoid a head-on-collision with “Avatar,” which would have had the films fighting over the nation’s 3-D screens.
By waiting until December, “Avatar” could take advantage of a steadily growing number of 3-D screens. Current estimates suggest that 4,000 3-D-ready screens will be in place in the U.S. by May 2009. Although deals are in the works for 3-D screens in Europe and Asia, there’s no firm estimate on how many will be in place internationally by then.
The move also is reminiscent of Cameron’s experience in 1997 when “Titanic,” facing production delays, moved from July to December 19, though the studio said in this case it’s not a sign of duress.
“This is a win-win for us,” said Hutch Parker, vice chairman of Fox Film Group. “‘Avatar’ goes to the ‘Titanic’ date in December, which was obviously auspicious for Jim and us, and by the time of the release, there will be more worldwide 3-D screens available.”
“Avatar” is about an ex-Marine who is sent to an exotic planet where he leads an uprising by its indigenous race. Cameron wrote the story.
Live-action principal photography for “Avatar” is almost completed in New Zealand, where Peter Jackson’s visual effects house Weta Digital is incorporating new CGI techniques to transform environments and characters into photorealistic 3-D imagery. The new date is expected to allow Weta more time to convert its software to the new technology without rushing the postproduction process.