Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If you make it, they will watch...

At Comic-Con, 20th Century Fox and Cameron announced that August 21 will be Avatar Day, taking the concept of a movie trailer to a whole new level. On August 21, 16 minutes of footage from Avatar will screen in more than 100 IMAX 3-D theaters around the world, for free. According to LA Times, of the 100 theaters, 30 of them would be IMAX 3-D screens overseas. Since there's only 30 to go around, I have a feeling Singapore and Malaysia are too small a market for this investment, so I'm guessing for this region, the lucky folks in Australia, and Japan will probably get a sneak peek.

The tickets will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis through the Avatar web site ( starting next Monday, August 17, 12noon PST (that's Tues, August 16, 3am in Singapore). According to a press release on the web site, details on locations will be announced soon, so maybe they'll release the locations before Monday.

The 16-minute preview will also include an introduction from Cameron. This is the first time that a blockbuster movie is previewed to such a huge international audience four months before Avatar will be released in cinemas (opens Dec 18 in US) - talk about building buzz! It's not a surprise though, considering that many film magazines, bloggers and critics are already labeling Avatar a breakthrough in 3D filmmaking and touting it as the taking the next step in the movie-going experience. Fox seems to be backing up Avatar in full force, with US$240 million in production costs and besides screenings in non IMAX screens -- which includes Digital 3D, Digital 2D and 35mm 2D -- Avatar will be playing at more than 225 IMAX theaters worldwide. That's 70% of all IMAX theaters worldwide. There are 320 IMAX theaters in 42 countries, with about 51% of these are located in the US. To put this into context, The Dark Knight, rated 4th worldwide in terms of all-time box-office sales on IMDB, only screened in 94 IMAX theaters. On a side note, I saw The Dark Knight at Sydney's Darling Harbour IMAX theater and it was breath-taking! When the movie was over, I wished the entire movie was shot in IMAX. Christopher Nolan had only shot 20-minutes of The Dark Knight in IMAX.

So keep your fingers crossed until Monday in hopes that Singapore might be so lucky to get the 16-minute Avatar preview, although I highly doubt that will happen, because if it does, the Science Center will probably see its biggest crowd yet. So for the folks who will be missing out on the 16-minute footage, you'll still get a chance to see the Avatar trailer starting August 21, in cinemas and online.

Never heard of Avatar? Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) plays Jake, a soldier who volunteers to travel to planet Pandora for a mining operation. Jake "travels" to Pandora as an Avatar, a genetically engineered human/Na’vi hybrid since humans cannot survive in Pandora's harsh environment. Na'vi are Pandora natives, tall, blue humanoids. On Pandora, Jake meets female Na'vi played by Zoe Saldana, and begins to learn more about the Na'vi, and is later forced to takes sides in a war between humans and Na'vi. If this sounds a lot like Pocahontas, I don't blame you. That's the first thought that came to mind when I read the summary, but I'm excited to see the world that Cameron's created. Want more details on Avatar? A good place to catch up on it: /Film.



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