From the article:
Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman said Monday that Cameron will start virtual photography on the sci-fi epic in April, with live-action photography commencing in August, for a summer 2009 release. It will be filmed in a new digital 3-D format for release in 3-D.
The director already has spent years in R&D on the multiple processes needed to create a $190 million hybrid of live action and animation, which he vowed will never pass the $200 million mark. "I've been the busiest unemployed director in Hollywood," he said. "We're going to blow you to the back wall of the theater in a way you haven't seen for a long time. My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt when we first saw '2001: A Space Odyssey,' or the next generation's 'Star Wars.' It took me 10 years to find something hard enough to be interesting."
Said Rothman: "Jim has taken the time to get it right, and we're taking the time to do it right. It's worth the wait."
"Avatar," with a screenplay by Cameron, will mark the director's return to the sci-fi action-adventure genre. He first wrote an 80-page treatment 11 years ago. The film centers on a wounded ex-Marine who is unwillingly sent to settle and exploit the faraway planet Pandora. He gets caught up in a battle for survival by the planet's inhabitants, called Na'vis, and falls in love with one of them. "Not only is this groundbreaking technologically, but it's an intimate story set against an epic canvas," Rothman said. "That's what Jim does. You can't compare it to anything out there. Its biggest upside, besides its revolutionary technology, is its newness. It's not a sequel to anything."
Cameron's strength is the intimate story in the midst of larger events. Even Cameron's most brainless excursions in to the action genre, and here I am thinking The Terminator franchise, revolve around the key relationships in John Connor's lives: father, mother, lover, friend. So my concern is not can James Cameron tell a good story (he can), or can James Cameron develop the technology he needs to tell a story (he can), but can James Cameron's latest obsession make enough money that the studios stick with it. I think that they are betting on another Titanic. I hope it does well.