Sunday, March 18, 2007

Avatar: Why this movie is important...

James Cameron is back. Avatar is planned for release in the summer of 2009. Why should MarketSaw be thinking about this movie now?

We all know what Cameron is capable of, but then again do we? Titanic, Aliens and True Lies exhibited innovative approaches to big budget productions but now Cameron is attempting the holy grail of cinema, 3D. However his approach introduces risk. He is counting on the widespread adoption of 3D digital theaters by 2009, something that I am hesitate to assume. There has to be a catalyst to start that whole ball rolling and perhaps Avatar is it. Before today the 3D world was ruled by IMAX, their system being spectacular and immersive.

Here is what I have heard so far: Cameron is always wanting to push the envelope and tackle projects that REQUIRE new technology to accomplish. In Avatar's case, it's advanced 3D ('Fusion Camera') and CGI (the movie is 60% CGI!!). New theaters just for this new technology? I hope so. The industry has been resting on the old way of doing things for too long. A simple projection screen can be accomplished at home. They will need a couple thousand of these theaters built by mid 2009 though! Now thats what I call a movie launch; theaters built specifically to host this movie (and more to come of course).

Everybody knows the impact Star Wars and The Matrix has had on film making. What Cameron is doing has far, FAR more ramifications and if he succeeds (I think he will) we will be one step closer to actually stepping into the movies themselves.

So how do you PAY for all of this? Well first of all you need economies of scale. Cameron will be filming another movie with the same type of tech. So what is being produced after Avatar? Battle Angel Alita apparently. Another project Cameron has had in the works for some time now.

By the way, Sigourney Weaver (Alien series) has definitely signed on (playing Grace) and there are some good rumors on Angelina Jolie (The Good Shepherd) contributing. For you audio buffs, industry icon James Horner has confirmed his involvement as well.

The budget on Avatar seems to be on par with what Titanic cost: $200,000,000! It should be a spectacle and define yet another threshold of innovation from the Cameron camp.

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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