With expectations and buzz at a record high, Avatar is sure to be one of the most interesting releases to keep an eye on, if for no other reason than to see just how well it does at the box office.
Part of Avatar's theatrical release is in IMAX 3D, which makes sense since Cameron himself has practically invented the 3D technology to achieve the most immersive and "revolutionary" experience possible. But how long of a run will Avatar get in IMAX 3D theaters?
Well, according to The Carpertbagger (the entertainment blog of The New York Times), IMAX hasn't lined up any other IMAX 3D releases after Avatar until Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in March. Avatar is released on December 18th... that's just about three whole months of a gap with nothing to fill it - the recent Star Trek reboot got two weeks.
Now this isn't to say that Avatar will definitely get an almost three month release, but as far as we know, no other movie being developed for IMAX 3D will be done in time for it to fit that January, February, gap at the start of next year. Because of the size of the screen, each IMAX theater can only run one movie at a time, so it appears they have faith in the special effects-laden Avatar.
There are a couple of reasons I can see why they would clear a path like this for Cameron's Avatar. The first is the fact that this is his first movie since the gargantuan success that was Titanic, and you can bet that the studio will play up the fact that he was the director of that success, as well as it being his first movie since then - "The return of James Cameron!"
I can just see it now...
The second thing is the technology that's being employed for Avatar. Everybody who's had a glimpse of the film has had nothing but amazing things to say about it - "Revolutionary!" is a word that's firmly attached to it - and I'm guessing the studio has the same feelings. This is a movie that's been planned for years and years now, and the only reason we haven't seen it before now is Cameron's been waiting for the technology available to catch up with his ambitious ideas.
Of all the 3D movies that are coming down the pipeline, Avatar seems the one most suited for a full-on release in the medium, as well as in IMAX. Even if the movie turns out to disappoint because of the monumental expectations that are now attached to it, it will be a sight to behold. With the amount of money that's being spent on it (a reported $200-plus million), I'm sure the visuals are going to be quite stunning, indeed.
However, will demand for Cameron's first film since Titanic - the "revolutionary" sci-fi mega-blockbuster - sustain a mammoth three month run in regular theaters, never mind in IMAX 3D? Titanic ran for almost double that amount of time in regular theaters, but only because of a phenomenal amount of word of mouth, a certain rewatchability and its (somewhat) universal appeal.
Will Avatar have the same characteristics? Maybe not, simply because it's a sci-fi movie and I just don't see loving couples and old-age pensioners heading out in large numbers to see it (as they did with Titanic).
The only way I can see Avatar staying for that long in IMAX 3D is if nothing else is there for competition, and strong word of mouth about the special effects and the amazing experience it offers keeps it afloat. Otherwise, three months seems a bit too ambitious, especially planning it at this point in time when the general movie going public have barely even heard of Avatar yet.
Are you surprised to here Avatar will possibly be getting a three month run in IMAX 3D theaters? Does that seem a bit too long to you?
Avatar is set to open in IMAX 3D and regular theaters on December 18th this year.
Source: The Carpetbagger