Nicole Sperling
December 12, 2007 AT 06:47 AM EST

Perhaps inspired by Titanic‘s 10th anniversary this month, Fox has announced that it will release James Cameron’s next film, the highly-anticipated 3-D spectacular Avatar, on December 18, 2009, the same date his big boat first dropped anchor at multiplexes. In turn, the studio has put Night at the Museum 2: Escape from the Smithsonian, starring Ben Stiller and directed by Shawn Levy, in Avatar’s place, on May 22. (The original took in more than $500 million worldwide with a very successful holiday opening.)

To mess with tradition even more, the studio is pushing its Ice Age threequel out of its very successful March date into the heat of summer. Insuring the film doesn’t melt against the competition, Fox has jumped onto the 3-D bandwagon, producing the animated film from Blue Sky Studios completely in digital 3D.

Hollywood Insider has learned fresh details on Night at the Museum 2: It’s filming inside the Smithsonian in D.C. and will feature museum artifacts as wide-ranging as Amelia Earhart’s plane and Dorothy’s ruby red slippers.

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