James Cameron’s highly-anticipated 3D science fiction fantasy Avatar is scheduled for day-and-date release on IMAX and conventional screens on December 18, 2009. The date was announced jointly today by Twentieth Century Fox and IMAX - although the press release couched its terms by saying the two companies had ‘reached agreement on material terms’.

Written and directed by the Academy Award-winning Titanic director, the film stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver. Cameron is producing alongside Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau.

The story follows an ex-Marine on an alien planet brimming with exotic and dangerous life forms. As an avatar, a human mind in an alien body, he is torn between two worlds. Cameron is working with WETA Digital, the SFX gurus behind Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy and King Kong, who will incorporate new technologies in creating photorealistic 3D imagery.

Said Cameron in a statement, ‘Our goal with Avatar is to revolutionize live-action 3D moviemaking, and I have no doubt that it will look and sound incredible in IMAX 3D. The larger field of view and powerful surround sound of an IMAX theatre will completely immerse the audience in a way that cannot be experienced anywhere else.’