Well that didn't take long. 

When James Cameron continued to tell reporters over the past few months they wouldn't have to wait long for a release date for an "Avatar" sequel, many of them took it with a grain of salt.  The now legendary filmmaker took over 10 years to produce what became the biggest film of all time after "Titanic" (formerly the biggest film of all time).  He'd been rumored to be working on a few projects that never occurred during that period which often made him seem like the Oscar winner who cried wolf.  Therefore, either Cameron is on a creative roll writing his "Avatar" book or 20th Century Fox offered him a deal he couldn't refuse or both, because last week's announcement of back-to-back sequels hit fandom and the industry like an earthquake.

Production won't begin until late next year, but Fox plans on releasing the first sequel in Dec. 2014 and the second one a year later in Dec. 2015.  That's amazingly convenient in that it avoids the back-to-back "Hobbit" films in Dec. 2012 and 2013.  The news also stop any other studio from trying to land it's pop culture tent pole during those two holiday frames.  Sure, other potential blockbusters will compete for moviegoers dollars during those time frames, but no studio is going to put their potential crown jewel in the eye of an "Avatar" box office storm.

And yes, that means we have four years to wax and wane over casting choices, plot points, special effects, needless interviews with stars who won't reveal anything and much, much more.  That's a long media cycle folks, don't get "Avatar'-ed out on us.

As for the rest of this week's power rankings...

Nov. 3, 2011

1. "Avatar" (not ranked)
Could the sequels make even more at the box office than the original?  It boggles the mind.



2. "The Dark Knight Rises" (not ranked)
Did Chris Nolan realize there would be a sexual double entendre with this official title?  Just saying'…Oh, and the rumor mill already has Charlize Theron and Vera Farminga up for potential roles.  Intriguing.



3. "Captain America: The First Avenger" (not ranked)
A big first look for the still in production picture, and it appears director Joe Johnston has crafted a super hero film with heart.  But it's only photos...


4. "Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol" (not ranked)
Say it five times in a row fast.  Now try it again. We're gonna love that game and we have over a year still to play it!



5. "The Hobbit" (last week no. 1)
We have a deal, a country and a cast.  This flick might actually get off the ground.

6. MGM (last week no. 12)

The Lion will never be what it was, but at least we'll get Bond back.  Who will market and distribute 007, on the other hand, is what a number of studios will soon be fighting over.

7. "Megamind" (not ranked)
Expect mega-numbers this weekend for DreamWorks latest.  Don't be surprised...

8. "The King's Speech" (not ranked)
It may be inexplicably rated R, but that won't stop the Oscar train. In fact, it might help.  Four of the last five best picture winners were actually given that rating by the MPAA. And knowing is half the battle!



9. "Jackass 3-D" (last week no. 7)
Films that have or will gross less than "Jackass 3D" in 2010: "The A-Team," "Date Night," "The Expendables," "Robin Hood" and "Book of Eli."  Stunning.

10. "Tron Legacy" (last week no. 15)
Now the debates are starting about whether it will actually make its money back.  We don't think Disney should be worried.  



11. "The Twilight Saga" (last week no. 5)
Is it us or is there less hoopla about the impending start of production for "Breaking Dawn" than the last two sequels?  Perhaps the paparazzi just can't crack Baton Rouge yet.



12. "The Hangover 2" (last week no. 3)
Jamie Chung is now playing Ed Helms fiance.  Anyone got a problem with that? Whew.

13. "Burlesque" (not ranked)
With all those billboards over Los Angeles "A Film By Steve Antin" many are actually wondering who the director of this very expensive musical extravaganza is.  We also hear a major publication is working on an explosive piece about the film. Yikes.



14. "Saw 3-D" (not ranked)
It was no. 1 at the box office which (sigh) probably means the franchise really isn't "over" as previously promised.

15. "Tintin" (not ranked)
The first image of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's stop-motion endeavor is released with barely a reaction in the U.S.  Overseas?  Quite a different story.

Last week's rankings:

Oct. 26, 2011



Movie Power Rankings appear on HitFix every Tuesday.  Share your thoughts on this week's list below.


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