Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Avatar: How will it perform?

With only three weeks to go before James Cameron's Avatar hits theaters (and yes I already got my tickets and 3D glasses-I'm sure I'll have a headache by the end from those glasses) the major question still looming over the project is how will it do? Will it blow your socks off and go through the roof or will it under perform?

Many are actually predicting the latter. And in some cases who can blame them. The film's running time of almost 3 hours and the 3D aspect will cause some problems-not enough showings and limited theaters showing it in 3D. Also expressed is the fact that Cameron's film isn't based on an already established hit. No books, comics, TV shows or even toy brand with a built in audience. No wonder some are saying it won't even out gross Twilight: New Moon at the box office.

The other question is competition. Peter Jackson's film version of The Lovely Bones is only coming out in limited release December 11 and not going wide until January, apparently so it won't be buried by Avatar. But Jackson seems to be the only one. Already set to open opposite Avatar is a Hugh Grant-Sarah Jessica Parker comedy (to appeal to the female market) and Nine, an adaptation of the Broadway musical. And then the next week sees Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr, which could cut into Avatar's guy audience and (heaven help us) Alvin and the Chipmunks 2.

But if Cameron has one thing on his side it is history. People seem to forget that when Titanic opened it faced stiff competition from the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Wes Craven's Scream 2 and Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown. Titanic buried most of them. The other thing going is the lack of a pre-sold audience. Cameron at least won't be criticized by fanboys for altering something or changing the plotline.

For me I just want to see Avatar because I'm a science fiction fan and have always enjoyed Cameron's other films. Considering that we've been drowning in comic book films, pointless remakes and sequels the fact that Cameron could even make a film like Avatar is at least something to be respected. It might not be the greatest film ever. But if I come out entertained, then he did his job right. We'll find out in a few weeks.

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