NEW YORK• Avatar fans will have to wait another year. Disney, which acquired the franchise when it bought 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, will delay Avatar 2 to December 2021 from next year.
Additional sequels also were pushed back, meaning a proposed Avatar 5 will not debut until 2027.
The move cuts what could have been Disney's biggest film of 2020 from its schedule, indicating it will have to rely on other movies, such as Cruella and a West Side Story reboot directed by Steven Spielberg.
It also will have a trio of Marvel films, though two are still untitled.
Disney also announced plans for its Star Wars films. The next instalment - following The Rise Of Skywalker in December - is due in December 2022. Another will appear in 2024, with the third debuting in 2026.
The first Avatar film in 2009 capitalised on the surging popularity of 3D movies. But audience interest in the franchise may have cooled since then.
The big question hanging over the series is whether writer-director James Cameron can rekindle excitement surrounding Avatar's Pandora world and its Na'vi people over the next two to eight years.
Disney's theme parks could help.
A World Of Avatar attraction opened in 2017 at Walt Disney World in Florida.