The movie business is preparing to take its first tentative steps back towards resuming some kind of normality following months of Coronavirus-related restrictions, which can only be good news for an industry that is facing one of its leanest years ever. However, things aren’t going to instantly go back to the way they were with hundreds of crew members on set, meaning that Hollywood is going to have to adapt to entirely new methods of production.
One of the first major projects to get the all-clear is James Cameron’s Avatar 2, with new set photos recently making their way online as the long-awaited sequel gears up to resume shooting next week. It helps that the movie is based in New Zealand, of course, which is one of the first countries attempting a full-blown return to business as usual, but their borders remain closed without waivers giving special dispensation.
As a mega-budget Hollywood blockbuster, Avatar 2 has unsurprisingly been granted permission to have the multicultural cast and crew return to the set, but this hasn’t gone down well with some local residents who feel that the government are showing political favoritism towards the movie.
Nine out of ten requests for these waivers are reportedly being denied, and the leader of the ACT political party has questioned the decision to grant Avatar 2’s permission to resume production at the expense of other industries that could also benefit the economy.
“What are the rules at the border? At the moment, it seems that if you’re a friend of the government, you’re in business. If not, you’re on your own. There should be one rule for everyone. It’s unacceptable for politicians to be picking and choosing who can enter the country.”
The New Zealand National Party’s economic development spokesman also weighed in to the argument, claiming that the decision to grant Avatar 2’s permit isn’t fair to those operating small businesses that also want to get back to normal.
“It certainly would seem some are not getting that same treatment. There must be a lot of small businesses wondering if there are different rules for different people. Why does this particular venture get preferential treatment?”
Looking at it in black and white, the fact that the combined budgets for the four Avatar sequels will be a billion dollars seems to answer that question pretty clearly. With that kind of money at stake, as well as the huge number of local jobs that will be created as a result, you can fully understand the New Zealand government’s decision to try and get the sci-fi epics back in front of cameras as soon as possible.