James Cameron's Avatar franchise is a planned series of science fiction films produced by Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and distributed by 20th Century Studios, as well as associated computer games and theme park rides.
The first installment, Avatar, was released on December 18, 2009 and was the highest grossing film of all-time for almost ten years after its release. The planned series was announced by 20th Century Fox on December 11, 2009, one week before Avatar was released to theaters. 20th Century Fox has confirmed the series on January 15, 2010.
Like the original film, the four planned sequels have "fully encapsulated" standalone plots that "come to their own conclusions". The four films have an overarching meta-narrative that connects them to create a large interconnected saga. James Cameron described the sequels as "a natural extension of all the themes, and the characters, and the spiritual undercurrents" of the first film.
The Avatar franchise is one of the most expensive franchises ever undertaken, with the combined budget of the first film and its four sequels estimated $1 billion.