Avatar couldn’t have hit theaters at a better time.
I was having a horrible time during the recession, yet for two hours and forty minutes, I had the time of my life and didn’t have a care in the world. While Pandora is not an easy environment to live in, who wouldn’t want to move to another planet when things get rough?
While Cameron hasn’t fulfilled his wish (yet) of going into space, the New York Times recently ran a story about how he may be headed to New Zealand, which certainly isn’t outer space, but is basically a galaxy far, far away.
Cameron’s already got a sweet compound in Malibu and can afford to live anywhere he wants to, but since there’s no real estate available on the moon or Mars at the moment, New Zealand will have to do.
Cameron told the New York Times he’s not going to New Zealand to compete with its resident genius, Peter Jackson, although it would be funny if they saw each other mowing the lawn or taking out the trash. The land Cameron bought is in Punui Ridge, which is twenty miles from the Wairarapa Valley. (That sounds like George Lucas dialogue, but anyways…) The Times also tells us it’s got bizarre wildlife like Pandora, including eels.
Down in New Zealand, Cameron now owns 2,500 acres of farm land in Punui, and he paid $16 million for it. He’ll be making the Avatar sequels down there, and who knows how much his new neighborhood will inspire the films. He’ll also be boosting the New Zealand economy, because a lot of locals will be hired to work on the films. (The Avatar sequels will be shot at Jackson’s studio, which is reportedly 15 minutes from Cameron’s place by helicopter).
In fact, Cameron also shot parts of the first Avatar in Wellington, and of course Jackson’s effects company Weta did the FX. Some people told the Times they’re worried about the land being sucked up by Hollywood peeps hoping to own a hip new property down under, but $16 million is still pretty steep, even by tinsel town standards.
And why not buy a home down in New Zealand when making the Avatar films? Flying in from Malibu’s a hell of a commute...