Three 'Avatar' sequels to be made in New Zealand

US film companies 20thCentury Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment will make the nextthree movies in the science fiction "Avatar" series in NewZealand, spending $413 million on live actionand visual effects.

The agreement comes after the New Zealand government hikedfilm industry tax rebates to up to 25 percent from the current15 percent.

"The Avatar sequels will provide hundreds of jobs andthousands of hours of work directly in the screen sector as wellas jobs right across the economy," Economic Development MinisterSteven Joyce said in a statement.

New Zealand will also host one "red carpet" premiere, withthe producers also agreeing to promote the country as a touristdestination, and film making venue.

The original "Avatar", which was nominated for nine Oscarsand won three in 2010, was partly made in New Zealand, withspecial effects done at Weta Digital, which also worked on theLord of the Rings trilogy, and the Hobbit series.

"Avatar" director James Cameron has a farm in New Zealand.

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