'Avatar' is a 'noteworthy' event,
but not a best movie, says the AFI
By Jim Farber | Excerpt: nydailynews.com
December 2009 - Can a film be noteworthy without being one of the year's best? The American Film Institute clearly thinks so. AFI has chosen the James Cameron movie "Avatar" as one of the eight "noteworthy" events in the world of cinema in 2009, but it didn't include the flick on its finest movies list, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Institute described "Avatar" as "a film that firmly established itself as a landmark in the way stories are told." It also called director Cameron's use of CGI and 3D technology "an achievement that will have profound effects on the future of the art form." Yet, AFI's best films list bent towards far less populist fare, instead singling out movies like "A Serious Man," "The Hurt Locker," and "Precious."
"Does 'Avatar' Contain Hidden Messages?
By Brett Michael Dykes
December 2009 - Since it opened last week, James Cameron's much-anticipated film "Avatar" has won praise from movie critics and been a juggernaut at the box office. But some who have seen the film say that it contains hidden messages that are anti-war, pro-environment, and perhaps even racist.
In a glowing review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert noted that "Avatar" "has a flat-out Green and anti-war message" that is "predestined to launch a cult." Meanwhile Ben Hoyle, writing in the Times of London, noted that the film "contains heavy implicit criticism of America's conduct in the War on Terror."
But are these hidden messages really all that hidden? James Cameron himself hasn't been shy in publicly proclaiming the fact that he's an environmental activist who believes that humans and "industrial society" are "causing a global climate change" and "destroying species faster than we can classify them."
Despite the obvious political undertones in "Avatar," at least one right-leaning critic doesn't think people who disagree with the film's ideology should totally dismiss it. In his review on the website Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes, "Conservatives have more or less primed themselves to hate this film because of the presumed anti-war politics of the movie.
'Avatar' and the lessons learned
By Geoff Boucher | Excerpt: latimes.com
December 2009 - Lesson 1: Fox is not above using their scripted television shows to promote a film. There was consternation, eye-rolling and plenty of resigned shrugs this week when Fox used their smart and sexed-up forensics franchise "Bones" to hype "Avatar" by weaving the movie into the plot line.
Lesson 2: James Cameron believed "Polar Express" was on the wrong track. A while back, we interviewed a key member of the "Avatar" team, production designer Rick Carter, who told us that Cameron and performance-capture specialist Robert Zemeckis are clearly philosophical rivals who keep an eye on one another.
It's easy then to read between the lines of these quotes in a Variety Q&A with Cameron: "I was unfamiliar with performance-capture technology, and the performance-capture technology I had seen I didn't think would measure up to what we needed.
Lesson 3: Leona Lewis can get real mushy. On Friday, Popeater got a chance to let the world get its first earful of "I See You," the "Avatar" theme song by British singer Leona Lewis. She also explained to the website that she visited Pandora before recording the track: "James and I spoke about the meaning and emotion of the song.
Lesson 4: Not everyone likes mushy.The often-acerbic Culture Vulture at the New York Magazine website was giggling when it listened to that Lewis track: "made in the mold of "My Heart Will Go On" and fortified with a full range of late-nineties radio-schmaltz pyrotechnics ... maybe it'll sound better in 3-D."
Geoff goes more in depth on each lesson, so click on the source link above for the full article.
Coke Zero's official Avatar viral site gets a make-over | Source:
December 2009 - AVTR.com has a new look along with a few new site features. At top and center, you can explore video that gives a schematic style presentation of various Avatar craft. Check out the new design by clicking the source link above.
AskMen.com's Top Ten Hottest Aliens
Neytiri rates #7
December 2009 - Askmen.com's Kevin Conklin: As Angelina Jolie proved in Beowulf, a little CGI never hurt anybody. It doesn’t hurt Avatar’s situation, either. Neytiri is sure to have her posters up right next to the others on this list.
We’ve yet to nail down exactly why the Na’Vi knockout is so attractive, but here are a couple of possibilities: We have some weird Smurf fetish stemming from our childhood or; we unconsciously think of body paint when we see her.
Either one of those two is OK. Keep your fingers crossed that this blue bombshell doesn’t die in the movie, and we get many sequels. Click on the source link above for the full list.
Shocked alien Sigourney Weaver
December 2009 - Sigourney Weaver was shocked when she saw herself as a blue alien in 'Avatar'. The Hollywood actress - who plays a scientist called Grace Augustine in the groundbreaking science fiction movie - was surprised by how lifelike her 3-D alien self looked in the special effects-laden film.
Sigourney - who is most famous for her role as Ellen Ripley in the 'Alien' films - told BANG Showbiz: "I think every science fiction film is so unique, I'd never done performance capture and the whole world of 'Avatar' was so fascinating that I felt like I was experiencing it for the first time.
"I mean it was so shocking because I didn't know think it would look like me, Sigourney, and it was just very funny. I'm just so looking forward to seeing it again."
Avatar Pushes Box Office Records Over 10 Billion Dollars
By David Finklehorn | Source: gnews.com
December 2009 - Hollywood’s box office sales broke all records this year by passing the $10 billion milestone for the first time in history. The previous 2007 record of $9.6 billion was superseded this year largely thanks to major blockbusting sequels from the Transformers, Harry Potter and Twilight franchises.
James Cameron’s hugely anticipated space opera Avatar, which premiered last night, should push box office receipts for the year to an astonishing $10.6 billion (£6.36 billion) for 2009. With consumers still watching their monthly outgoings in the hangover of the recession, going to the cinema has been a cheap form of entertainment for the American and Canadian public.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com Box Office said: “The global economy is taking a major hit and, when these conglomerates that own movie studios are having a tough time, it’s at least one bright spot in the equation,” according to the Metro.
Steven Spielberg Gives James Cameron’s
“Avatar” Two Thumbs Up
By Lauren A.E. Schuker | Source: wsj.com
December 2009 - Roughly a week remains until “Avatar,” the hotly-anticipated sci-fi epic from “Titanic” director James Cameron, hits theaters. But News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox has already offered Hollywood’s top brass at least one clandestine screening.
Sources close to filmmaker Steven Spielberg say he watched the film last Friday on Fox’s studio lot in Los Angeles and loved it. “He flipped for it,” says a person close to the acclaimed director. Gearing up for next weekend’s release date, Fox is hoping that mainstream audiences react to the film just like Spielberg did.
The movie’s plot, an original story about a disabled soldier who leaves Earth for a far-off planet called Pandora, presents a challenge to audiences inured to sequels, pre-quels, and films based on pre-fabricated properties, such as “Transformers,” “Twilight” and the coming “Sherlock Holmes,” starring Robert Downey, Jr.
Pandorapedia.org is now live
December 2009 - Pandorapedia.com has not surfaced yet, but Fox has opened Pandorapedia.org, a basic text/image format site with descriptions on the Avatar universe.
Some time back there were actually some test images of Pandorapedia.COM which revealed that it would be more of a multi-media rich site. But for now the .ORG version is certainly welcome.
The descriptions include Hometree, Mountain Banshee, Direhorse, Hammerhead Titanothere, Thanator, Viperwolf, The RDA, The Avatar Program, Amino Tank, Hell's Gate, AMP Suit—(Amplified Mobility Platform), Dragon Gunship, ISV Venture Star, Scorpion Gunship, and the Na'vi.
Click on the source link above to check it out.
James Cameron's Avatar and 3D
technology brings fans into the cinema
THE three-dimensional future of cinema
By Neala Johnson
December 2009 - James Cameron's much-hyped sci-fi adventure, Avatar, has opened in cinemas across Australia, and is expected to set a new box office standard for 3D films. "Ultimately, when the film's run ends, this will be the first film where 3D has financially out-performed 2D," said Marc Wooldridge, managing director of 20th Century Fox Australia, the studio behind the film.
The number of 3D screens in cinemas has been increasing for the past year, but the rush really set in to have more screens ready for Avatar. "Exhibitors had Avatar as their target film, in order to make 3D available to their customers," Mr Wooldridge explained.
"The 3D footprint has enlarged dramatically. We had Ice Age 3 in July, and we were on about 150 screens for that film, and we're on well over 250 for Avatar. Avatar, which stars Australia's Sam Worthington, is also shown on regular screens. But Hoyts Marketing Manager Sara Hoogendoorn confirmed yesterday that the demand for Avatar is all for 3D.
Avatar: Jet-Setting With the Cast
December 2009 - Before unveiling the 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar to an intensely curious audience at the December 10 world premiere, director James Cameron and actors Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver zipped around Paris, Berlin, Moscow, and London on a dizzying promotional tour.
LIFE.com photographer Jeff Vespa was along for the ride, with exclusive access to those special, intimate moments that fans rarely see. In this gallery, get an inside peek at four head-spinning days in the lives of stars on the brink of a blockbuster.
Click on the source link above to view the full gallery.
RealD Part of AVATAR Premiere
December 2009 - Los Angeles-based RealD said Tuesday afternoon that the firm is powering the U.S. premiere of James Cameron's AVATAR, at the Grauman Chinese Theatre. The firm, which develops 3D movie projection technology, said the premiere will be the first time 3D has been displayed in the theater.
The theater recently installed RealD's XL Cinema System. The U.S. premiere is set for Wednesday. RealD said its equipment, which is used in conjunction with digital movie projection hardware to add 3D film support, was also used in the December 10th world premiere of AVATAR in London.
Avatars making love
By Ruben V. Nepales | Excerpt: inquirer.net
December 2009 - In the interest of investigative journalism, we asked director James Cameron the nagging question that has been in your mind since you watched “Avatar” with millions of other people: How do the Na’vi and the avatars make love?
“I can’t answer that in mixed company,” said James – “Jim” to his cast and crew – with a smile, suddenly being coy as he looked at the group of journalists interviewing him. But he added: “Actually, we had it in and we cut it out.” Then, still grinning, he quipped: “So that will be something for the special edition DVD, if you want to see how they have sex.”
But when the company was no longer, um, mixed, the director of the visually stunning film told us how they make whoopee in Pandora: They use their tails.
“They do!” exclaimed Zoe Saldana, alluring but definitely not as towering in person as her 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned character, Neytiri. With the way she described this scene with Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), “Avatar” may earn millions of dollars more when the DVD version is released with this added footage: “It made such perfect sense. If you sink to your banshee and you’re sinking to a tree, why not sink into a person? I almost feel like you’ll have the most amazing orgasm, I guess [laughter].
Is Avatar this generation's Star Wars?
Is Avatar BETTER than Star Wars?
By Jeff Jensen | Excerpt: EW.com
December 2009 - Jeff Jensen: I saw Avatar on Saturday. My opinion of the film isn’t all that important or interesting — but I basically agree with EW’s estimable Owen Gleiberman, although I must admit I continue to think about it more than the usual “B” grade movie.
More interesting and perhaps more noteworthy was the reaction of my 8-year-old son Ben. He’s a big Star Wars fan (so you know that I’m raising him well) and interested in sci-fi stuff (especially sci-fi stuff that involves spaceships and loud battles), and so he’s been obsessed with Avatar for weeks.
Until now, Ben’s only cinematic experiences have been 3-D animated movies like Wall-E, Up and Madagascar. I tried to take him to Speed Racer last year, but he asked to leave one hour into it, saying, “Daddy, I think I’m too young for this movie."
With this as context, Ben walked out of our 3-D Imax screening of Avatar totally blown away. And then he said the words that left me floored: “That was even better than Star Wars!” Not sure I heard him correctly, I asked him, pointedly: “What’s your favorite movie: Star Wars or Avatar?” He said, without hesitation, “Avatar.”
Three days later, he’s still talking and buzzing about it, and more, he’s suddenly hungry for more cinematic experience — very similar to my reaction to A New Hope when I first saw at as a 7-year-old in ‘77. With Avatar, the medium of movies (or what it is movies have become) has captured my son’s imagination.
Avatar: The Game Changer
By Bill Desowitz
December 2009 - With its revolutionary virtual production techniques, Avatar has broken the wall between director and viewer, allowing us to experience a whole new visceral and immersive kind of stereoscopic cinema.
According to James Cameron and his colleagues, Avatar is thus a game changer for the way VFX movies are made and watched, discussed and written about. No wonder Steven Spielberg proclaimed it "emotional spectacle."
And with an opening weekend of $77 million domestically and $241.5 million globally, Avatar is wowing viewers, too, getting the largest 3-D boost ever, including an IMAX record of $9.5 million, or about 13% of the total domestic gross: "It looks like we made a good bet," boasts Greg Foster, chairman and president of IMAX Filmed Ent., who has ridden this IMAX 3-D wave since The Polar Express.
"We worked really closely with [Cameron] on this one. He's basically been over here or someone from Lightstorm every day for the last six months. The aspect ratio, the color grading, the audio, obviously the DMR, they've all had the IMAX DNA in it. And he's made three different versions of the film: the 2-D version, the Digital 3-D version and the IMAX 3-D version. The content is the same but each has its own nuance. He's such a perfectionist and what he's done is to customize everything to take advantage of the specific venues, so for us, what he's really been making sure is that every seat in the auditorium is a sweet spot."
Thus, thanks to the virtual cinematography workflow created by Rob Legato, allowing Cameron to observe directly on an LCD monitor how the actors' CG characters (or avatars) interact with the CG Pandora in realtime and direct scenes as though he were shooting live action, digital and live action moviemaking have become one. In other words, everything you've heard or read about the new digital paradigm or 5D has now become a reality. Which also means that pre and post are obsolete, compositing will have to be redefined and so might previs. Click on the source link above for the complete article and image gallery.
King of the (Blue) World
By Rebecca Keegan | Excerpt: time.com
December 2009 - In April 2008, in a windowless Los Angeles warehouse where Howard Hughes built his airplanes some 70 years earlier, James Cameron, in a hockey jersey and jeans, was doing something élite directors do not do--holding a camera. "Why can't I see anything?" he yelled from an apparently empty warehouse floor to a small crew huddled over computer monitors in a corner.
"Oh, oh, oh, I'm in the monster's head!" Cameron backed up, and a peek through his camera lens revealed blackness giving way to a thick and vivid rain forest where a tall, blue, alien version of Sigourney Weaver was battling the monster whose head had just blocked the director's view.
On the warehouse floor there was no rain forest, no monster, no Weaver--just a bunch of guys and their computers. But Cameron's camera was allowing him to shoot inside a virtual universe of his own creation. He swooped in over the monster's shoulder and entered the world of Avatar. Equal parts artist and gearhead, Cameron, 55, has brought to film the time-travel saga of The Terminator, the watery depths of The Abyss and the sinking deck of Titanic. But more than any of his previous movies, Avatar is wholly Cameron's world.
Bringing Pandora to Life
Despite Cameron's success with Titanic--the highest-grossing movie of all time and winner of a record-tying 11 Oscars--Avatar was not an easy sell to his home studio, 20th Century Fox. Since 1997, Cameron had been largely absent from the Hollywood scene, riding in submersibles, shooting documentaries and building new filmmaking toys. In 2005, Fox funded a $10 million, 5-min. prototype for the movie, but when Cameron delivered a 153-page draft of the script months later, the studio balked.
Here was an ambitious project with a lot of risky elements, including unproven technology, blue protagonists with tails and a script that wasn't based on a comic book, novel or video game--making it unique for a big-budget film in its time. In September 2006, Fox formally passed on Avatar. Only after another studio (Disney) seemed poised to take it on--and after Cameron made concessions in both his script and his compensation--did Fox green-light the film. Now he just had to make it.
Audiences got their first look at Avatar footage in July at San Diego's Comic-Con. When the trailer went online on Aug. 21, demand was instantaneous, quickly making it the most downloaded trailer at Apple.com The Avatar footage triggered a record 4 million streams in its first day. But the reaction wasn't all glowing. Some commenters likened the Na'vi to George Lucas' reviled CG character Jar Jar Binks, others to the '80s TV cartoon Thundercats.
Those who saw the footage in theaters (it screened in select IMAX locations) were considerably more impressed, but the initial hype and interest that had surrounded the project were giving way to a backlash. This was a place Cameron had been before, on Titanic--only instead of bloggers and online commenters, back then it was the mainstream media who snickered at his ambition. One script element Fox had initially objected to was Cameron's failure to explain unobtainium, the precious resource that sends humans to Pandora to strip-mine the planet ruinously.
McDonald’s debuts AVATAR campaign
By Alan J. Liddle | Excerpt: nrn.com
December 2009 - Hoping to boost sales by tying its products and marketing campaigns to the highly anticipated AVATAR science-fiction movie, McDonald’s is engaging customers on a number of digital and in-store promotional fronts.
Mary Dillon, global chief marketing officer for McDonald’s Corp., which operates or franchises more than 32,000 restaurants worldwide, and Neil Golden, her counterpart for the U.S., said last week during a public conference call that the campaign is “one of the most unique digital experiences we’ve ever created.” Efforts include online contests, AVATAR toys for Happy Meals, contests for a free McDonald's lunch with a movie screening and gaming promotions. The No. 1 burger brand would not say how much the multi-tiered campaign cost.
“We’ve invested significantly…It’s a big undertaking for our system,” was all Dillon would say when asked how much McDonald’s will spend on tie-ins to the possible blockbuster in the making. She added that the chain’s franchisees are “very excited about this.” McDonald’s partnership with AVATAR’s makers, she added, “gives us the opportunity to bring this adventure alive in our restaurants and online with innovative technology and creativity, all at the value customers expect from us.”
Dillon and Golden were asked to explain what appears to be a fairly narrow focus for a major marketing initiative, as many campaign elements are aimed at young people, in general, and online gamers, in particular. Both replied that McDonald’s believes the movie will generate interest among a wide range of consumers, with Dillon adding that it should also appeal to a variety of age groups from “8 to 80.” She and Golden ticked off information about multiple online activities tied to the movie, including “McD Vision.”
Another titanic hit?
Blockbuster director James Cameron hopes to strike it big again with 'Avatar'
By David Germain/Associated Press
December 2009 - A colossal budget, visionary technology and a down-to-the-wire workload on a film whose fortunes represent a real question mark.
James Cameron has been here before, on Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Titanic -- the latter racking up 11 Oscars, those for best picture and director among them, and a record $1.8 billion worldwide at the box office.
His vision this time is riding on Avatar, a science-fiction epic aiming to push the bounds of digital filmmaking and 3-D presentation -- with a reported price tag well in excess of the $200 million spent to make Titanic.
Will audiences go along? Cameron thinks so. "It's hard for me to imagine that, short of some massive marketing debacle, it's not going to work for people," Cameron said days after completing Avatar, just in time for its worldwide release Friday. "I mean, we may not have a kind of slam-dunk opening weekend that settles the whole case. I don't think the case is going to be settled until week two or maybe week three." The 55-year-old director, who had a $200 million smash with Terminator 2 and hits with Aliens and True Lies, has kept fans waiting a long time.
Although he has been busy producing, making the underwater 3-D documentaries Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep and developing the technology for Avatar, this marks his first narrative film since Titanic 12 years ago. Cameron's reputation and a mammoth marketing push by distributor 20th Century Fox virtually guarantee hit status for Avatar. The question is whether Avatar can climb to the $300 million or $400 million level of franchises such as Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and Spider-Man.
"Avatar" sets audiences on epic, visual ride
December 2009 - James Cameron's long-awaited "Avatar," one of the most expensive films ever made, takes off this week in an awe-inspiring display of Hollywood power that has revolutionized cinematic special effects.
At a cost of about $400 million to make and market "Avatar," the Oscar-winning director of "Titanic" has created a lush world of dense forest, floating mountains and tremendous creatures in a computer-generated spectacular that transforms much of the cast into giant, blue-skinned humanoids.
The movie, which premiered in London on Thursday and begins landing in theaters worldwide next week, represents a huge risk for the 20th Century Fox studio that backed it and is being watched closely in Hollywood for its impact on the future of movies, special effects and expansion of new 3D technology.
"It's absolutely cinema, but I think cinema redefines itself every few years with new techniques," Cameron told reporters in Paris before the film's launch. Beyond dazzling audiences with visual effects that plunge the viewer onto the planet Pandora 4.4 light years from Earth, "Avatar" provides a familiar mix of romance, action movie thrills and an old-fashioned battle between good and evil. "The more fantastic the subject ... the more recognizable and universal, the relationships and people need to be," Cameron said.
"Avatar" shows the forest-dwelling Na'vi fighting for survival against a rapacious colonial mining operation bent on moving them away and stripping their planet. A crippled ex-Marine is chosen to make contact with the mysterious people as an avatar, a remotely controlled body, which allows him to move freely in the alien world where he falls in love with a Na'vi princess. What makes "Avatar" stand out, however, is the appearance of its three-dimensional forest scenery and the seamless interaction of the human cast with the animated world.
Avatar world premiere and photo gallery
By Russell Clark | Source: denofgeek.com
December 11, 2009 - Yesterday saw the world premiere of Avatar in London. And we were busy taking snaps...
With the gushing reviews starting to roll in, it's fair to say that James Cameron is looking like he's winning his Avatar battle.
Yesterday, he and his team of cast and crew descended on London for the world premiere of the film. And we were on hand to take a few photos for you. It looks like it was a good night all round...
Here's our report from Adam Farina, who was in the press pens...
The stars rolled out in force to usher in Avatar, the ground-breaking sci fi film that uses 3D technology to bring the viewer even closer to the action.
Hundreds of fans lined Leicester Square’s ‘blue carpet premiere, aptly decorated due to the main characters in the film being digitally rendered to have the same hue as a smurf (albeit a ‘$300 million more technologically advanced’ hue).
Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, two of the films more seasoned actors, talked about how London was their home away from home. "’I used to live at 351 Portobello Roadmany years ago as a young man. I have a lot of warm memories of this city’’, said Lang.
"It’s always great to be here. London and I have a long history. It’s a beautiful and wonderful place to launch such an incredible movie’’, smiled Sigourney.
Apart from Avatar’s James Cameron, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Giovani Ribisi and Stephen Lang stopping by to say hi, the event also welcomed moviemakers Simon Pegg and Danny Boyle, heavy hitters David ‘Haymaker’ Hayes and Joe Calzaghe, as well as, er, Simon Webbe from the appropriately named boy band ‘Blue’.
Avatar, in case you didn't know, tells the story of an alien world, called Pandora, that harbours an incredible mineral that is worth millions per fraction. This mineral is so valuable that Pandora is plundered by the human race to acquire it.
The only thing is the Na’vi, Pandora's native inhabitants, don’t really appreciate the humans' heavy-handed ways and resist the invasion. This resistance takes the form of spectacular aerial attacks, fight scenes and the use of Avatars, a being which is the combination of human and Na’vi DNA that is used to infiltrate the alien’s homeland on a native level.
The quality of special effects in the movie is second to none and when director James Cameron was asked how he now feels about his previous visually ground breaking movies such as Terminator 2 and Abyss, he replies:
"They are snap shots of their time, they were pushing the envelope when they were made and that’s something that I hope we’ll keep doing 20 years from now’’
One man who is pushing the envelope is Avatar’s lead actor Sam Worthington, who plays Jake Sully, a marine who becomes an Avatar. Worthington is a busy man, with last summer's Terminator Salvation, Avatar, and the upcoming Clash of the Titans remake.
Click on the source link above for the full gallery with larger view.
James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Has Premiere In London
December 2009 - LONDON, England: James Cameron’s sci-fi extravaganza “Avatar” was getting its public premiere in London Thursday, and the movie industry is watching intently to see whether it will match the success of the director’s blockbuster “Titanic.”
Stars Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana were expected to join the crowds in London’s Leicester Square before Thursday’s gala screening.
The 3-D epic about humans taking extraterrestrial form as they explore a distant world is reportedly one of the most expensive movies ever made, with a price tag well in excess of the $200 million spent to make “Titanic.” It uses cutting-edge digital technology to create dizzying special effects.
Cameron conceived the story for “Avatar” in 1995 then waited a decade for technology to catch up so he could film it. The film mixes live action andcomputer animation to create an eye-poppingly vivid alien world. The industry is watching closely to see how audiences respond to Cameron’s first narrative film since 1997’s “Titanic,” which won 11 Academy Awards and has taken $1.8 billion worldwide at the box office. “Avatar” opens around the world next week.
December 18, 2009 - Guest Writer Chris Groves: Here, at last!
James Cameron epic sci-fi adventure Avatar opens today in the USA
and other countries. The film is set to open in 3,300-plus theaters in
North America according to Box Office Mojo. That's a solid amount,
considering the most theaters any movie previously released in
December opened in was 3,832. This means that if the film opens
with a strong number, it has room to expand into more theaters in
the following weeks, which would help it maintain at the box office.
Avatar is going to open in north of 2000 3D equipped theaters,
which will charge premium ticket prices for the 3D showings
of the movie.
Today's openings: Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland, Iceland, India, Norway, Romania, Spain,
Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, USA, Ukraine,
Uruguay, and Venezuela
James Cameron Previews 10 Minutes Of
Deleted 'Avatar' Scenes For DVD
'There's plenty for a value-added DVD experience
on this film,' director says.
By R. Eric Ditzian, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
December 2009 - By "Titanic" standards, James Cameron's 160-minute-long "Avatar" is but a mere sprint compared to that marathon of a maritime disaster flick. Still, the director had to make some tough choices about what to include in the finished film and what needed to be left on the cutting-room floor.
And what was left behind was 10 to 12 minutes of motion-captured goodness, as Cameron revealed exclusively to MTV News. Much of the footage focused on the native Na'vi people of Pandora, those sinewy blue aliens that live at one with nature until the resource-plundering humans decide the spot most in need of digging is the place the natives call home.
"It's all wonderful stuff, but it was sort of bogging down the middle section of the movie," Cameron said. "So there's plenty for a value-added DVD experience on this film. Of course, we'll have to go punch it all up and get it all mixed and stuff like that." An important chunk of those 10-plus minutes is devoted to a trial that Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who joins the Na'vi through his mind-controlled alien avatar, must pass to truly become one of the clan. It involves a hunt for a Sturmbeest, a sort of colorful, overgrown rhino.
"That was kind of cool," Worthington said. "It was intricately designed." "It's a creature you no longer see in the movie," Cameron said of the Sturmbeest. "[Sully] has to learn how to hunt through the air and do this incredibly brave thing, and then after the hunt they have this big festival and they dance and there's a drunk scene with [Na'vi member] Tsu'tey, which is Laz Alonso's character, which is actually pretty damn funny."
December 2009 - In doesn't arrive in the U.S. till tomorrow, but
today several regions around the world will get to experience James
Cameron's long awaited sci-fi epic adventure Avatar, some in all it's
3D glory, for the first time.
The film, the cast, and the crew behind the magic have been in the
spotlight lately with premieres, interviews, and conferences. In
recent days, Avatar has also benefitted from numerous
positive reviews and award nominations.
Today's openings: Australia, Hungary, Germany,
Colombia, Croatia, Greece, Malaysia, Netherlands, Czech Republic,
Israel, Singapore, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Mexico, Austria, Portugal, Hong Kong, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Georgia, and UK.
James Cameron Explains Why 'Avatar' Aliens Are Blue
'Green had been taken by all those Martian movies with the little green men,' the director jokes.
By Larry Carroll, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
December 2009 - Moviegoers got a sneak peek at one of the year's most anticipated films on Thursday, straight from legendary director Jim Cameron himself. Unsurprisingly, when the "Avatar" director held court for an exclusive MTV Q&A online, one of the most eye-opening questions came from a fan.
"Jim, what inspired you to make the Na'vi blue?" asked Sarah T., one of the many moviegoers who logged on to MTV.com to watch the chat. "Well," the director of such classics as "Titanic" and "Aliens" began. "We wanted to say that there was an otherness, an alien-ness to them.
Looking over at his fellow Q&A participants — the Dominican/ Puerto Rican Saldana and Western Australian Worthington — the Canadian-born Cameron said that the Na'vi's blue skin allowed him to comment on race. "[I was thinking], 'What are the differences that we can deal with, without it becoming a barrier?'
Skin color is great, and it's also great thematically, because skin color is obviously such a big issue on our planet," he explained with a grin, looking at his actors and teasing Worthington. "All the warm tones — from pallid Canadian pink, to beautiful warm browns and, well, pallid Australian pink — were all taken."
Avatar Almost Didn’t Make It Past the Chopping Block
James Cameron surprisingly had a tough time getting the movie financed
By Justin Key
December 2009 - Imagine you're a filmmaker. What do you think would be the best thing to have on your resume in order to easily get your next project financed? How about 'creating the most successful film in history?'
Well, Hollywood just doesn't work like that. Titanic director James Cameron had to overcome many hurdles to get the green-light for upcoming hit Avatar, despite previous success.
The problem started with the initial pitch. 20th Century Fox passed on the story of a young paraplegic Marine who controls the body of a 9-foot avatar to explore a foreign world, falls in love, and then leads a rebellion.
Considering some of the ridiculousness that gets made these days, it's hard to see what part of that pitch was a turn-off. Nonetheless, Cameron kept chugging along. He returned with a 153-page screenplay, but Fox turned a sour nose to that, too. Cameron told writer Rebecca Keegan that he always changes up the dialogue after he's gotten familiar with his cast and it seems that Fox executives forgot all about that, acting as if the script was in 'shambles.'
But can you really deter a guy who can look at the all-time box office report any day of the week and see his name at the top? I don't think so. Cameron re-wrote the script. This time, then-CEO Peter Chernin told Cameron personally that no means no!: Fox was officially passing. Hopeless situation, huh? Not if you know how to work the system. It's reported that within two days Cameron was in talks with Disney, Fox got jealous, and Avatar was green-lighted. With a whopping budget of $350 million, see it this Friday.
MySpace, Twentieth Century Fox and UStream to host exclusive
live webcast of Avatar Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals
on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:00 PM PT
December 2009 - Thanks to MySpace for sending us this press
release: MySpace will provide movie fans with two exciting exclusives
for Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s adventure Avatar!
MySpace will host the Ustream live webcast of Avatar red carpet arrivals
at the premiere on Wednesday, December 16 beginning at 9:00 pm ET/
6:00 pm PT. The star-studded event will be made available worldwide
and presented on the official Avatar MySpace profile at [destination link].
The interactive webcast will be powered by Ustream, the leading live
broadcasting platform on the Internet. Cast and celebrity attendees
will be interviewed live providing unique access to the premiere of
the highly anticipated film. Viewers will be able to take part in
real-time by posting comments or questions that may then be
presented to the celebrities during the broadcast.
Additionally, MySpace Music will debut the “I See You” music video from Leona Lewis featuring the AVATAR theme song on Tuesday, December 15 at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT. The video brings to life the powerful song and highlights stunning footage from the film.