Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Avatar Rescheduled: Delays Seem Validated Now

"Avatar" has been pushed back until December 18th, 2009 from the Memorial Day weekend so that James Cameron has more time for "post-production".

Well we reported back on October 24th that Avatar was seemingly delayed back then! Slow moving productions at the initial several weeks of shooting definitely hinted at trouble brewing and this more than likely contributed to the rescheduling. Of course more development time helps, but it is EXPENSIVE. Look for the cost of "Avatar" to rise by $20-30 million to $225 million total, if not more.

Fox stressed that Cameron is on schedule during this press announcement. Hmmm. Right. They force their friends at Dreamworks Animation to change their plans for the major launch of their mega 3D project "Monsters vs. Aliens" to Easter rather than Memorial Day and now change their minds? To provide special effects while they STILL have 18 months to complete it? Nope. They are delayed all right. I will dig further into this with my sources.

I will say that Weta is different from other special effects companies. They DO NOT throw people at a problem to get it done on time. They have an elite team of developers and animators that work very closely and focus on a high quality of work that is simply not possible when throwing "contractors" at it. Weta no doubt has contributed a bit to this back-log. But I have little reservation in saying the shooting has been slow and the major cause of this reschedule. Cameron himself said on December 3rd:
"We've reworked the camera software on the fly, using a set of look-up curves we wrote ourselves, so now the cameras basically go to a default interocular setting automatically based on focal length and subject distance --- a kind of "auto-stereo" --- which is working really well."
So while they maybe "firing on all eight" now, they certainly were NOT when we first reported the slowdown back in October. Any slowdown (writing software customizations and hacks on the fly) has a domino effect that cannot be easily rectified. Toss in a jumbled and revamped shooting sequence due to Michelle Rodriguez and her date with the penal system and you have all the ingredients for a Yuletide Avatar rather than a summer Avatar.

Also, Fox announced yet another 3D movie tentpole: "Ice Age 3" pegged for July 1st, 2009! More details on that very soon.

I'll discuss more about "Avatar" soon! I knew I'd get to use that graphic again...

Source: Variety

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Jim Dorey
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