Avatar (film)

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Avatar is a 2009 American epic
Epic film
An epic is a genre of film that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale. Epics are more ambitious in scope than other film genres, and their ambitious nature helps to differentiate them from similar genres such as the period piece or adventure film...

 science fiction
Science fiction film
Science fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial life forms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, and time travel, often along with futuristic...

  motion capture film
Motion capture
Motion capture, motion tracking, or mocap are terms used to describe the process of recording movement and translating that movement on to a digital model. It is used in military, entertainment, sports, and medical applications, and for validation of computer vision and robotics...

 written and directed by James Cameron
James Cameron
James Francis Cameron is a Canadian-American film director, film producer, screenwriter, editor, environmentalist and inventor...

, and starring Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington
Samuel Henry J. "Sam" Worthington is an English born, Australian actor. After almost a decade of roles in Australian TV shows and films, Worthington gained Hollywood's attention by playing Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and the lead role, Jake Sully, in James Cameron's science...

, Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana , sometimes stylized Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role...

, Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang (actor)
Stephen Lang is an American actor and playwright. He started in theatre on Broadway but is well known for his film portrayals of Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals and George Pickett in Gettysburg , as well as for his 2009 roles as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar and as Texan lawman Charles...

, Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez
Mayte Michelle Rodríguez , known professionally as Michelle Rodriguez, is an American actress. Following on from her breakthrough role in 2000's Girlfight, she is best known for playing tough-girl roles and starring in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil,...

, Joel David Moore, Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

 and Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver is an American actress. She is best known for her critically acclaimed role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, for which she has received worldwide recognition .Other notable roles include Dana...

. The film is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium
Unobtainium
In engineering, fiction, and thought experiments, unobtainium is any extremely rare, costly, or impossible material, or device needed to fulfill a given design for a given application. The properties of any particular unobtainium depend on the intended use...

 on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant
Gas giant
A gas giant is a large planet that is not primarily composed of rock or other solid matter. There are four gas giants in the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune...

 in the Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus...

 star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi—a humanoid
Humanoid
A humanoid is something that has an appearance resembling a human being. The term first appeared in 1912 to refer to fossils which were morphologically similar to, but not identical with, those of the human skeleton. Although this usage was common in the sciences for much of the 20th century, it...

 species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to the genetically engineered
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct human manipulation of an organism's genome using modern DNA technology. It involves the introduction of foreign DNA or synthetic genes into the organism of interest...

 Na'vi-human hybrid bodies used by a team of researchers to interact with the natives of Pandora.

Development on Avatar began in 1994, when Cameron wrote an 80-page scriptment
Scriptment
A scriptment is a written work by a movie or television screenwriter that combines elements of a script and treatment, especially the dialogue elements, which are formatted the same as in a screenplay. It is a more elaborate document than a standard draft treatment...

 for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Cameron's 1997 film Titanic
Titanic (1997 film)
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Rose's fiancé, Cal...

, for a planned release in 1999, but according to Cameron, the necessary technology was not yet available to achieve his vision of the film. Work on the language
Na'vi language
The Na’vi language is the constructed language of the Na’vi, the sapient humanoid indigenous inhabitants of the fictional moon Pandora in the 2009 film Avatar. It was created by Paul Frommer, a professor at the Marshall School of Business with a doctorate in linguistics...

 for the film's extraterrestrial beings
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 began in Summer 2005, and Cameron began developing the screenplay and fictional universe
Fictional universe of Avatar
In the 2009 science fiction film Avatar, director James Cameron conceived a fictional universe in which humans seek to mine unobtanium on the fictional exoplanetary moon, Pandora. The Earth-like moon is inhabited by a sapient indigenous humanoid species called the Na'vi, and varied fauna and flora...

 in early 2006. Avatar was officially budgeted at $237 million. Other estimates put the cost between $280 million and $310 million for production and at $150 million for promotion. The film was released for traditional viewing, 3-D
3-D film
A 3-D film or S3D film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception...

 viewing (using the RealD 3D, Dolby 3D
Dolby 3D
Dolby 3D is a marketing name for a system from Dolby Laboratories, Inc. to show three-dimensional motion pictures in a digital cinema.- Technology :...

, XpanD 3D
XpanD 3D
XPAND 3D is a brand name of a system for presenting three-dimensional films in a digital cinema, home theater, video games and other applications. XPAND utilizes active-shutter 3D glasses...

, and IMAX 3D formats), and "4-D
4-D film
4-D film is a marketing term that describes an entertainment presentation system combining a 3-D film with physical effects in the theatre, which occur in synchronization with the film...

" viewing. The stereoscopic
Stereoscopy
Stereoscopy refers to a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image by presenting two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. Both of these 2-D offset images are then combined in the brain to give the perception of 3-D depth...

 filmmaking was touted as a breakthrough in cinematic technology.

Avatar premiered in London on , 2009, and was internationally released on and in the United States and Canada on , to critical acclaim and commercial success. The film broke several box office records during its release and became the highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S. and Canada and also worldwide, surpassing Titanic, which had held the records for the previous twelve years. It also became the first film to gross more than . Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards
82nd Academy Awards
The 82nd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , honored the best films of 2009 and took place March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. The ceremony was scheduled well after...

, including Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 and Best Director, and won three, for Best Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

, Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction
Academy Award for Best Art Direction
The Academy Awards are the oldest awards ceremony for achievements in motion pictures. The Academy Award for Best Art Direction recognizes achievement in art direction on a film. The films below are listed with their production year, so the Oscar 2000 for best art direction went to a film from 1999...

. The film's home release went on to break opening sales records and became the top-selling Blu-ray of all time. Following the film's success, Cameron signed with 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

 to produce two sequel
Sequel
A sequel is a narrative, documental, or other work of literature, film, theatre, or music that continues the story of or expands upon issues presented in some previous work...

s, making Avatar the first of a planned trilogy
Trilogy
A trilogy is a set of three works of art that are connected, and that can be seen either as a single work or as three individual works. They are commonly found in literature, film, or video games...

.

Plot


In 2148, the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's natural resources have been severely depleted. In 2154, the RDA Corporation is mining a valuable mineral called unobtanium
Unobtainium
In engineering, fiction, and thought experiments, unobtainium is any extremely rare, costly, or impossible material, or device needed to fulfill a given design for a given application. The properties of any particular unobtainium depend on the intended use...

 on Pandora, a densely-forested habitable moon orbiting the gas giant
Gas giant
A gas giant is a large planet that is not primarily composed of rock or other solid matter. There are four gas giants in the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune...

  Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus...

 star system. Pandora, whose atmosphere is poisonous to humans, is inhabited by the Na'vi, 10 feet (3 m)-tall, blue-skinned, sapient humanoids who live in harmony with nature and worship a mother goddess
Mother goddess
Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation or embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.Many different goddesses have...

 called Eywa.

To explore Pandora's biosphere
Biosphere
The biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on Earth, a closed and self-regulating system...

, scientists use Na'vi-human hybrids called 'avatars', operated by genetically-matched humans; wherefore Jake Sully (Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington
Samuel Henry J. "Sam" Worthington is an English born, Australian actor. After almost a decade of roles in Australian TV shows and films, Worthington gained Hollywood's attention by playing Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and the lead role, Jake Sully, in James Cameron's science...

), a paraplegic
Paraplegia
Paraplegia is an impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities. The word comes from Ionic Greek: παραπληγίη "half-striking". It is usually the result of spinal cord injury or a congenital condition such as spina bifida that affects the neural elements of the spinal canal...

 former marine
Space marine
The space marine, an archetype of science fiction, is a soldier that operates in outer space or on alien worlds. Historical marines fulfill amphibious roles: ship defence, landing parties, and general high-mobility deployments...

, replaces his twin brother Tom as an operator thereof. Augustine (Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver is an American actress. She is best known for her critically acclaimed role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, for which she has received worldwide recognition .Other notable roles include Dana...

), head of the Avatar Program, considers Sully an inadequate replacement and assigns him as a bodyguard. While protecting the avatars of Grace and scientist Norm Spellman (Joel David Moore) as they collect biological data, Jake's avatar is attacked by a thanator and flees into the forest, where he is rescued by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana , sometimes stylized Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role...

), a female Na'vi. Upon sight of an auspicious portent, she takes him to her clan, whereupon Neytiri's mother Mo'at (C. C. H. Pounder), the clan's spiritual leader, orders her daughter to initiate Jake into their society.

Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang (actor)
Stephen Lang is an American actor and playwright. He started in theatre on Broadway but is well known for his film portrayals of Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals and George Pickett in Gettysburg , as well as for his 2009 roles as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar and as Texan lawman Charles...

), head of RDA's private security force
Private military company
A private military company or provides military and security services. These combatants are commonly known as mercenaries, though modern-day PMCs refer to their staff as security contractors, private military contractors or private security contractors, and refer to themselves as private military...

, promises Jake that the company will restore his legs if he gathers intelligence
Intelligence (information gathering)
Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

 about the Na'vi , on grounds that they occupy the richest deposit of unobtanium in the area. When Grace learns of this, she transfers herself, Jake, and Norm to an outpost
Outpost
Outpost may refer to:Places:* Outpost * Outpost * Outpost * Outpost * Outpost Estates, Los Angeles, California, a canyon neighborhood* Outpost Islands, Nunavut, Canada* Israeli outpostIn entertainment:...

. Over three months, Jake grows to sympathize with the natives. After Jake is initiated into the tribe, he and Neytiri choose each other as mates; and soon afterward, Jake reveals his change of allegiance when he attempts to disable a bulldozer
Bulldozer
A bulldozer is a crawler equipped with a substantial metal plate used to push large quantities of soil, sand, rubble, etc., during construction work and typically equipped at the rear with a claw-like device to loosen densely-compacted materials.Bulldozers can be found on a wide range of sites,...

 that threatens to destroy a sacred Na'vi site. When Quaritch shows a videograph of Jake's attack on the bulldozer to Administrator Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi
Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

), and another in which Jake admits that the Na'vi will never abandon Hometree, Selfridge orders Hometree destroyed.

Despite Grace's argument that destroying Hometree could damage the Biological neural network
Biological neural network
In neuroscience, a biological neural network describes a population of physically interconnected neurons or a group of disparate neurons whose inputs or signalling targets define a recognizable circuit. Communication between neurons often involves an electrochemical process...

 native to Pandora, Selfridge orders Jake and Grace to convince the Na'vi to evacuate. When this fails, Quaritch's forces destroy Hometree, killing Neytiri's father and many others. Mo'at frees Jake and Grace; but they are detached from their avatars and imprisoned. Pilot Trudy Chacón (Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez
Mayte Michelle Rodríguez , known professionally as Michelle Rodriguez, is an American actress. Following on from her breakthrough role in 2000's Girlfight, she is best known for playing tough-girl roles and starring in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil,...

), disgusted by Quaritch's brutality, carries them to Grace's outpost; but during the escape, Quaritch injures Grace.

To regain the Na'vi's trust, Jake connects his mind to that of Toruk, a dragon
Dragon
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern...

-like predator feared and honoured in Na'vi history. Thus connected, Jake finds the refugees at the sacred Tree of Souls and pleads with Mo'at to heal Grace. The clan attempts to transfer Grace from her human body into her avatar with the aid of the Tree; but she succumbs to her injuries before the process can be completed.

Supported by the new chief Tsu'tey (Laz Alonso
Laz Alonso
Lazaro "Laz" Alonso is an American film and television actor. He is best known for playing Tsu'tey in James Cameron's science fiction film Avatar. He is also well known for his role as Fenix "Rise" Calderon in the film Fast & Furious. Alonso has had roles in other films such as Jarhead, This...

), who acts as Jake's translator, Jake speaks to unite the clan and tells them to gather other clans for battle against the RDA. On the eve of battle, Jake prays to Eywa, via a neural connection to the Tree of Souls, to intercede on behalf of the Na'vi. Having noticed this convention, Quaritch organizes a pre-emptive strike
Preemptive war
A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending war before that threat materializes. It is a war which preemptively 'breaks the peace'. The term: 'preemptive war' is...

 against the Tree of Souls, believing that its destruction will demoralize the natives.

During the subsequent battle, the Na'vi suffer heavy casualties, including Tsu'tey and Trudy; but are rescued when Pandoran wildlife unexpectedly join the attack and overwhelm the humans, which Neytiri interprets as Eywa's answer to Jake's prayer. Jake destroys a makeshift bomber before it can reach the Tree of Souls; whereupon Quaritch dons an AMP suit
Mecha
A mech , is a science fiction term for a large walking bipedal tank or robot, including ones on treads and animal shapes.-Characteristics:...

 and breaches the avatar link unit containing Jake's human body, exposing Jake to Pandora's poisonous atmosphere. In reply, Neytiri kills Quaritch and rescues Jake.

With the exceptions of Jake, Norm, and several other scientists, all humans are expelled from Pandora; whereafter Jake is transferred entirely into his avatar.

Cast



HumansSam Worthington
Sam Worthington
Samuel Henry J. "Sam" Worthington is an English born, Australian actor. After almost a decade of roles in Australian TV shows and films, Worthington gained Hollywood's attention by playing Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and the lead role, Jake Sully, in James Cameron's science...

 as Jake Sully, the film's main protagonist. Sully is a disabled
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

 former Marine who becomes part of the Avatar Program after his twin brother is killed. His military background helps the Na'vi warriors relate to him. Cameron cast the Australian actor after a worldwide search for promising young actors, preferring relative unknowns to keep the budget down. Worthington, who was living in his car at the time, auditioned twice early in development, and he has signed on for possible sequels. Cameron felt that because Worthington had not done a major film, he would give the character "a quality that is really real". Cameron said he "has that quality of being a guy you'd want to have a beer with, and he ultimately becomes a leader who transforms the world".
  • Stephen Lang
    Stephen Lang (actor)
    Stephen Lang is an American actor and playwright. He started in theatre on Broadway but is well known for his film portrayals of Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals and George Pickett in Gettysburg , as well as for his 2009 roles as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar and as Texan lawman Charles...

     as Colonel Miles Quaritch. Quaritch is the head of the mining operation's security detail. Fiercely loyal to his military code, he has a profound disregard for Pandora's inhabitants that is evident in both his actions and his language. He serves as the film's main antagonist. Lang had unsuccessfully auditioned for a role in Cameron's Aliens
    Aliens (film)
    Aliens is a 1986 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, and Bill Paxton...

    (1986), but the director remembered Lang and sought him for Avatar. Michael Biehn
    Michael Biehn
    Michael Connell Biehn is an American actor. He is best known for his roles in James Cameron's science fiction action films The Terminator as Kyle Reese, Aliens as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks, and The Abyss as Lt. Coffey. He has also acted in such films as Tombstone, The Rock, and Planet Terror...

    , who was in Aliens, read the script and watched some of the 3-D footage with Cameron, but was ultimately not cast in the role.
  • Sigourney Weaver
    Sigourney Weaver
    Sigourney Weaver is an American actress. She is best known for her critically acclaimed role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, for which she has received worldwide recognition .Other notable roles include Dana...

     as Dr. Grace Augustine. Augustine is an exobiologist and head of the Avatar Program. She mentors Sully and is an advocate of peaceful relations with the Na'vi, having set up a school to teach them English.
  • Michelle Rodriguez
    Michelle Rodriguez
    Mayte Michelle Rodríguez , known professionally as Michelle Rodriguez, is an American actress. Following on from her breakthrough role in 2000's Girlfight, she is best known for playing tough-girl roles and starring in Hollywood blockbusters such as The Fast and the Furious, Resident Evil,...

     as Trudy Chacón. Chacón is a combat pilot assigned to support the Avatar Program who is sympathetic to the Na'vi. Cameron had wanted to work with Rodriguez since seeing her in Girlfight
    Girlfight
    Girlfight is a 2000 drama film starring Michelle Rodriguez. It focuses on Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the skepticism of both her abusive father and the prospective trainers in the male-dominated sport...

    .
  • Giovanni Ribisi
    Giovanni Ribisi
    Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor. His film credits include Gone in 60 Seconds, Boiler Room, Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad, The Gift, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Lost in Translation and more recently, Public Enemies and Avatar...

     as Parker Selfridge. Selfridge is the corporate administrator for the RDA mining operation. While he is at first willing to destroy Na'avi civilization to preserve the company's bottom line
    Bottom Line
    The Bottom Line was a music venue at 15 West Fourth Street between Mercer Street and Greene Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City...

    , he is reluctant to authorize the attacks on the Na'vi, doing so only after Quaritch persuades him that it is necessary, and the attacks will be humane. When the attacks are broadcast to the base, Selfridge displays discomfort at the violence.
  • Joel David Moore as Dr. Norm Spellman. Spellman is a xenoanthropologist who studies plant and animal life as part of the Avatar Program. He arrives on Pandora at the same time as Sully and operates an avatar. Although he is expected to lead the diplomatic contact with the Na'vi, it turns out that Jake has the personality better suited to win the natives' respect.
  • Dileep Rao
    Dileep Rao
    Dileep A. Rao is an American actor who has appeared in feature films and television series. He starred in Sam Raimi's horror film Drag Me to Hell , James Cameron's science fiction film Avatar , and Christopher Nolan's thriller Inception .-Life and career:Rao was born in Los Angeles, California to...

     as Dr. Max Patel, a scientist who works in the Avatar Program and comes to support Jake's rebellion against the RDA.


Na'viZoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana , sometimes stylized Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role...

 as Neytiri, the daughter of the leader of the Omaticaya, the Na'vi clan central to the story. She is attracted to Jake because of his bravery, though frustrated with him for what she sees as his naiveté and stupidity. She serves as both the film's main Na'vi protagonist and Jake's love interest. The character, like all the Na'vi, was created using performance capture
Motion capture
Motion capture, motion tracking, or mocap are terms used to describe the process of recording movement and translating that movement on to a digital model. It is used in military, entertainment, sports, and medical applications, and for validation of computer vision and robotics...

, and its visual aspect is entirely computer generated. Saldana has also signed on for potential sequels.
  • C. C. H. Pounder as Mo'at, the Omaticaya's spiritual leader, Neytiri's mother, and consort to clan leader Eytukan.
  • Wes Studi
    Wes Studi
    Wesley "Wes" Studi is a Cherokee actor, who has earned notability for his portrayal of Native Americans in film. He has appeared in well-received Academy Award-winning films, such as Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves, Michael Mann's The Last of the Mohicans, the award-winning Geronimo: An...

     as Eytukan, the Omaticaya's clan leader, Neytiri's father, and Mo'at's mate.
  • Laz Alonso
    Laz Alonso
    Lazaro "Laz" Alonso is an American film and television actor. He is best known for playing Tsu'tey in James Cameron's science fiction film Avatar. He is also well known for his role as Fenix "Rise" Calderon in the film Fast & Furious. Alonso has had roles in other films such as Jarhead, This...

     as Tsu'tey, the finest warrior of the Omaticaya. He is heir to the chieftainship of the tribe, and at the beginning of the film's story he is betrothed to Neytiri.

Origins


In 1994, director James Cameron wrote an 80-page scriptment
Scriptment
A scriptment is a written work by a movie or television screenwriter that combines elements of a script and treatment, especially the dialogue elements, which are formatted the same as in a screenplay. It is a more elaborate document than a standard draft treatment...

 for Avatar. In , he announced that after completing Titanic
Titanic (1997 film)
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Rose's fiancé, Cal...

, he would film Avatar, which would make use of synthetic, or computer-generated
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

, actors. The project would cost $100 million and involve at least six actors in leading roles "who appear to be real but do not exist in the physical world". Visual effects house Digital Domain
Digital Domain
Digital Domain is a visual effects and animation company founded by film director James Cameron, Stan Winston and Scott Ross. It is based in Venice, Los Angeles, California...

, with whom Cameron has a partnership, joined the project, which was supposed to begin production in the summer of 1997 for a 1999 release. However, Cameron felt that the technology had not caught up with the story and vision that he intended to tell. He decided to concentrate on making documentaries and refining the technology for the next few years. It was revealed in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek cover story that 20th Century Fox had fronted $10 million to Cameron to film a proof-of-concept clip for Avatar, which he showed to Fox execs in .

In February 2006, Cameron revealed that his film Project 880 was "a retooled version of Avatar", a film that he had tried to make years earlier, citing the technological advances in the creation of the computer-generated characters Gollum
Gollum
Gollum is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium. He was introduced in the author's fantasy novel The Hobbit, and became an important supporting character in its sequel, The Lord of the Rings....

, King Kong
King Kong (2005 film)
King Kong is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a remake of the 1933 film of the same name and stars Naomi Watts, Jack Black and Adrien Brody. Andy Serkis, through performance capture, portrays Kong....

, and Davy Jones
Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Davy Jones is a fictional character and antagonist in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Davy Jones is the captain of the Flying Dutchman , roaming the seas in search of souls to serve upon his vessel for a century...

. Cameron had chosen Avatar over his project Battle Angel after completing a five-day camera test in the previous year.

Development



From January to April 2006, Cameron worked on the script and developed a culture for the film's aliens, the Na'vi. Their language
Na'vi language
The Na’vi language is the constructed language of the Na’vi, the sapient humanoid indigenous inhabitants of the fictional moon Pandora in the 2009 film Avatar. It was created by Paul Frommer, a professor at the Marshall School of Business with a doctorate in linguistics...

 was created by Dr. Paul Frommer
Paul Frommer
Paul R. Frommer is an American communications professor at the University of Southern California and a linguistics consultant. He is the former Vice President, Special Projects Coordinator, Strategic Planner, and Writer-Researcher at Bentley Industries in Los Angeles, California...

, a linguist at USC
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

. The Na'vi language has a vocabulary of about 1000 words, with some 30 added by Cameron. The tongue's phoneme
Phoneme
In a language or dialect, a phoneme is the smallest segmental unit of sound employed to form meaningful contrasts between utterances....

s include ejective consonant
Ejective consonant
In phonetics, ejective consonants are voiceless consonants that are pronounced with simultaneous closure of the glottis. In the phonology of a particular language, ejectives may contrast with aspirated or tenuis consonants...

s (such as the "kx" in "skxawng") that are found in the Amharic language of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, and the initial "ng" that Cameron may have taken from New Zealand Māori
Maori language
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

. Actress Sigourney Weaver and the film's set designers
Scenic design
Scenic design is the creation of theatrical, as well as film or television scenery. Scenic designers have traditionally come from a variety of artistic backgrounds, but nowadays, generally speaking, they are trained professionals, often with M.F.A...

 met with Jodie S. Holt, professor of plant physiology
Plant physiology
Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany concerned with the functioning, or physiology, of plants. Closely related fields include plant morphology , plant ecology , phytochemistry , cell biology, and molecular biology.Fundamental processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, plant nutrition,...

 at University of California, Riverside
University of California, Riverside
The University of California, Riverside, commonly known as UCR or UC Riverside, is a public research university and one of the ten general campuses of the University of California system. UCR is consistently ranked as one of the most ethnically and economically diverse universities in the United...

, to learn about the methods used by botanists
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

 to study and sample plants, and to discuss ways to explain the communication between Pandora's organism
Organism
In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system . In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.An organism may either be unicellular or, as in the case of humans, comprise...

s depicted in the film.
From 2005 to 2007, Cameron worked with a handful of designers, including famed fantasy illustrator Wayne Barlowe
Wayne Barlowe
Wayne Douglas Barlowe is an American science fiction and fantasy painter. He has paintedover 300 book and magazine covers and illustrations for many major book publishers, as well as Life magazine, Time, and Newsweek...

 and renowned concept artist Jordu Schell
Jordu Schell
Jordu Schell is a renowned American sculptor and concept artist who has been working in the film and television industries for over twenty years.-Career:Jordu Schell began his career as a sculptor and Halloween mask maker...

, to shape the design of the Na'vi with paintings and physical sculptures when Cameron felt that 3-D brush renderings were not capturing his vision, often working together in the kitchen of Cameron's Malibu home. In , Cameron announced that he would film Avatar for a mid 2008 release and planned to begin principal photography with an established cast by . The following August, the visual effects studio Weta Digital
Weta Digital
Weta Digital is a digital visual effects company based in Wellington, New Zealand. It was founded by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993 to produce the digital special effects for Heavenly Creatures. In 2007 Weta Digital’s Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Joe Letteri, was...

 signed on to help Cameron produce Avatar. Stan Winston
Stan Winston
Stanley Winston was an American visual effects supervisor, makeup artist, and film director. He was best known for his work in the Terminator series, the Jurassic Park series, Aliens, the Predator series, Iron Man, Edward Scissorhands, and Avatar...

, who had collaborated with Cameron in the past, joined Avatar to help with the film's designs. Production design for the film took several years. The film had two different production designers, and two separate art departments, one of which focused on the flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

 of Pandora, and another that created human machines and human factors. In , Cameron was announced to be using his own Reality Camera System to film in 3-D. The system would use two high-definition cameras in a single camera body to create depth perception.

Fox was wavering because of its painful experience with cost overruns and delays on Cameron's previous picture, Titanic, even though Cameron rewrote Avatar's script to combine several characters together and offered to cut his fee in case the film flopped. Cameron installed a traffic light with the amber signal lit outside of co-producer Jon Landau
Jon Landau (film producer)
Jon Landau is an American film producer.Landau was born in New York City, New York, the son of Edie, a producer, and Ely A. Landau, a studio executive and producer, of non-practicing Jewish, German ancestry. He is one of the "famous faces" due to being a regular player on the online poker website...

's office to represent the film's uncertain future. In mid-2006, Fox told Cameron "in no uncertain terms that they were passing on this film," so he began shopping it around to other studios, and showed his proof-of-concept to Dick Cook
Dick Cook
Richard W. "Dick" Cook is the former Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. At the time of his separation from the company, he was the only remaining top Disney executive who had worked for the company since before Michael Eisner took charge in 1984...

 (then chairman of the Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios (Burbank)
The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States, serve as the international headquarters for media conglomerate The Walt Disney Company. The Walt Disney Studio's house offices for each of the company's divisions along with creative spaces designed for movie production. The Walt Disney...

). However, when Disney attempted to take over, Fox exercised its right of first refusal
Right of first refusal
Right of first refusal is a contractual right that gives its holder the option to enter a business transaction with the owner of something, according to specified terms, before the owner is entitled to enter into that transaction with a third party...

. In , Fox finally agreed to commit to making Avatar after Ingenious Media agreed to back the film, which reduced Fox's financial exposure to less than half of the film's official $237 million budget. After Fox accepted Avatar, one skeptical Fox executive shook his head and told Cameron and Landau, "I don't know if we're crazier for letting you do this, or if you're crazier for thinking you can do this ..."
In December 2006, Cameron described Avatar as "a futuristic tale set on a planet 200 years hence ... an old-fashioned jungle adventure with an environmental conscience [that] aspires to a mythic level of storytelling". The press release described the film as "an emotional journey of redemption and revolution" and said the story is of "a wounded former Marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival". The story would be of an entire world complete with an ecosystem of phantasmagorical plants and creatures, and a native people with a rich culture and language.

Estimates put the cost of the film at about $280–310 million to produce and an estimated $150 million for marketing, noting that about $30 million in tax credit
Tax credit
A tax credit is a sum deducted from the total amount a taxpayer owes to the state. A tax credit may be granted for various types of taxes, such as an income tax, property tax, or VAT. It may be granted in recognition of taxes already paid, as a subsidy, or to encourage investment or other behaviors...

s will lessen the financial impact on the studio and its financiers. A studio spokesperson, said that the budget "is $237 million, with $150 million for promotion, end of story".

Themes and inspirations


Avatar is primarily an action-adventure journey of self-discovery, in the context of imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 and deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

.
Cameron said his inspiration was "every single science fiction book I read as a kid", and that he was particularly striving to update the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs's
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.-Biography:...

 John Carter
John Carter (character)
John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

series. The director has acknowledged that Avatar shares themes with the films At Play in the Fields of the Lord
At Play in the Fields of the Lord
At Play in the Fields of the Lord is a drama film directed by Héctor Babenco adapted from the 1965 novel of the same name by American author Peter Matthiessen. The screenplay was written by Babenco and Jean-Claude Carrière...

, The Emerald Forest, and Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke
is a 1997 epic Japanese animated historical fantasy feature film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. is not a name, but a general term in the Japanese language for a spirit or monster...

, which feature clashes between cultures and civilizations, and with Dances With Wolves
Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic western film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a...

, where a battered soldier finds himself drawn to the culture he was initially fighting against.

In a 2007 interview with Time magazine, Cameron was asked about the meaning of the term Avatar
Avatar
In Hinduism, an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, or a descent of the Supreme Being and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation," but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation"....

, to which he replied, "It's an incarnation of one of the Hindu gods
Hindu deities
Within Hinduism a large number of personal gods are worshipped as murtis. These beings are either aspects of the supreme Brahman, Avatars of the supreme being, or significantly powerful entities known as devas. The exact nature of belief in regards to each deity varies between differing Hindu...

 taking a flesh form. In this film what that means is that the human technology in the future is capable of injecting a human's intelligence into a remotely located body, a biological body."
The look of the Na'vi—the humanoids indigenous to Pandora—was inspired by a dream that Cameron's mother had, long before he started work on Avatar. In her dream, she saw a blue-skinned woman 12 feet tall, which he thought was "kind of a cool image". Also he said, "I just like blue. It's a good color ... plus, there's a connection to the Hindu deities, which I like conceptually." He included similar creatures in his first screenplay (written in 1976 or 1977), which featured a planet with a native population of "gorgeous" tall blue aliens. The Na'vi were based on them.

For the love story between characters Jake and Neytiri, Cameron applied a star-crossed
Star-crossed
"Star-crossed" or "star-crossed lovers" is a phrase describing a pair of lovers whose relationship is often thwarted by outside forces. The term encompasses other meanings, but originally means the pairing is being "thwarted by a malign star" or that the stars are working against the relationship...

 love theme, and acknowledged its similarity to the pairing of Jack and Rose from his film Titanic. Both couples come from radically different cultures that are contemptuous of their relationship and are forced to choose sides between the competing communities. He felt that whether or not the Jake and Neytiri love story would be perceived as believable partially hinged on the physical attractiveness of Neytiri's alien appearance, which was developed by considering her appeal to the all-male crew of artists. Though Cameron felt Jake and Neytiri do not fall in love right away, their portrayers (Worthington and Saldana) felt the characters do. Cameron said the two actors "had a great chemistry" during filming.
For the film's floating "Hallelujah Mountains", the designers drew inspiration from "many different types of mountains, but mainly the karst limestone
Karst topography
Karst topography is a geologic formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock, usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite, but has also been documented for weathering resistant rocks like quartzite given the right conditions.Due to subterranean drainage, there...

 formations in China." According to production designer Dylan Cole, the fictional floating rocks were inspired by Mount Huang (also known as Huangshan), Guilin
Guilin
Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of far southern China, sitting on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city...

, Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie is a prefecture-level city in the northwestern part of Hunan province in China. It comprises the district of Yongding and counties of Cili and Sangzhi...

, among others around the world. Director Cameron had noted the influence of the Chinese peaks on the design of the floating mountains.

To create the interiors of the human mining colony on Pandora, production designers visited the Noble
Noble Corporation
Noble Corporation is the modern name of Noble Drilling Corporation, by which it was known through the 1990s. The company was part of the S&P 500 stock market index until 3/26/2009, when the headquarters were transferred to Switzerland. Noble Corporation is a major contract driller of oil and...

 Clyde Boudreaux
oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 during . They photographed, measured and filmed every aspect of the platform, which was later replicated on-screen with photorealistic CGI
Computer-generated imagery
Computer-generated imagery is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media...

 during post-production.

Cameron said that he wanted to make "something that has this spoonful of sugar of all the action and the adventure and all that" but also have a conscience "that maybe in the enjoying of it makes you think a little bit about the way you interact with nature and your fellow man". He added that "the Na'vi represent something that is our higher selves, or our aspirational selves, what we would like to think we are" and that even though there are good humans within the film, the humans "represent what we know to be the parts of ourselves that are trashing our world and maybe condemning ourselves to a grim future".

Cameron acknowledges that Avatar implicitly criticizes the United States' role in the Iraq War and the impersonal nature of mechanized warfare
Mechanized Warfare
Mechanized Warfare is the sixth studio album released by American power metal band Jag Panzer, released in 2001. This album is more progressive than the band's previous work...

 in general. In reference to the use of the term shock and awe in the film, Cameron said, "We know what it feels like to launch the missiles. We don't know what it feels like for them to land on our home soil, not in America." He said in later interviews, "... I think it's very patriotic to question a system that needs to be corralled ..." and, "The film is definitely not anti-American."
A scene in the film portrays the violent destruction of the towering Na'vi Hometree, which collapses in flames after a missile attack, coating the landscape with ash and floating embers. Asked about the scene's resemblance to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

, Cameron said he had been "surprised at how much it did look like ".

Filming



Principal photography
Principal photography
thumb|300px|Film production on location in [[Newark, New Jersey]].Principal photography is the phase of film production in which the movie is filmed, with actors on set and cameras rolling, as distinct from pre-production and post-production....

 for Avatar began in in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 and Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. Cameron described the film as a hybrid with a full live-action shoot in combination with computer-generated characters and live environments. "Ideally at the end of the day the audience has no idea which they're looking at," Cameron said. The director indicated that he had already worked four months on nonprincipal scenes for the film. The live action was shot with a modified version of the proprietary digital 3-D Fusion Camera System
Fusion Camera System
Fusion Camera System is a Digital movie camera system developed by James Cameron and Vince Pace. It was developed as a way to shoot features in stereoscopic 3-D. The Fusion Camera System made first use of Sony HDC-F950 and later of Sony HDC-1500 HD cameras when it became available. The cameras are...

, developed by Cameron and Vince Pace. In , Fox had announced that 3-D
3-D film
A 3-D film or S3D film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception...

 filming for Avatar would be done at 24 frames per second despite Cameron's strong opinion that a 3-D film requires higher frame rate
Frame rate
Frame rate is the frequency at which an imaging device produces unique consecutive images called frames. The term applies equally well to computer graphics, video cameras, film cameras, and motion capture systems...

 to make strobing less noticeable. According to Cameron, the film is composed of 60% computer-generated elements and 40% live action, as well as traditional miniatures
Miniature effect
A miniature effect is a special effect created for motion pictures and television programs using scale models. Scale models are often combined with high speed photography or matte shots to make gravitational and other effects appear convicing to the viewer...

.

Motion-capture photography lasted 31 days at the Hughes Aircraft
Hughes Aircraft
Hughes Aircraft Company was a major American aerospace and defense contractor founded in 1932 by Howard Hughes in Culver City, California as a division of Hughes Tool Company...

 stage in Playa Vista
Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California
Playa Vista is a neighborhood located located on in the northern section of Westchester in the western area of Los Angeles, California, north of LAX...

 in Los Angeles. Live action photography began in at Stone Street Studios in Wellington, New Zealand, and was scheduled to last 31 days. More than a thousand people worked on the production. In preparation of the filming sequences, all of the actors underwent professional training specific to their characters such as archery, horseback riding, firearm use, and hand-to-hand combat. They received language and dialect training in the Na'vi language created for the film. Prior to shooting the film, Cameron also sent the cast to the Hawaiian tropical rainforests to get a feel for a rainforest setting before shooting on the soundstage.

During filming, Cameron made use of his virtual camera system
Virtual camera system
A virtual camera system aims at controlling a camera or a set of cameras to display a view of a 3D virtual world. Camera systems are used in videogames where their purpose is to show the action at the best possible angle; more generally, they are used in 3D virtual worlds when a third person view...

, a new way of directing motion-capture filmmaking. The system is showing the actors' virtual counterparts in their digital surroundings in real time, allowing the director to adjust and direct scenes just as if shooting live action. According to Cameron, "It's like a big, powerful game engine
Game engine
A game engine is a system designed for the creation and development of video games. There are many game engines that are designed to work on video game consoles and personal computers...

. If I want to fly through space, or change my perspective, I can. I can turn the whole scene into a living miniature and go through it on a 50 to 1 scale." Using conventional techniques, the complete virtual world cannot be seen until the motion-capture of the actors is complete. Cameron said this process does not diminish the value or importance of acting. On the contrary, because there is no need for repeated camera and lighting setups, costume fittings and make-up touch-ups, scenes do not need to be interrupted repeatedly. Cameron described the system as a "form of pure creation where if you want to move a tree or a mountain or the sky or change the time of day, you have complete control over the elements".

Cameron gave fellow directors Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
Sir Peter Robert Jackson, KNZM is a New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter, known for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , adapted from the novel by J. R. R...

 a chance to test the new technology. Spielberg said, "I like to think of it as digital makeup, not augmented animation ... Motion capture brings the director back to a kind of intimacy that actors and directors only know when they're working in live theater." Spielberg and George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

 were also able to visit the set to watch Cameron direct with the equipment.

To film the shots where CGI interacts with live action, a unique camera referred to as a "simulcam" was used, a merger of the 3-D fusion camera and the virtual camera systems. While filming live action in real time with the simulcam, the CGI images captured with the virtual camera or designed from scratch, are superimposed over the live action images as in augmented reality
Augmented reality
Augmented reality is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is...

 and shown on a small monitor, making it possible for the director to instruct the actors how to relate to the virtual material in the scene.

Visual effects


A number of innovative visual effects
Visual effects
Visual effects are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live action shoot. Visual effects involve the integration of live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or...

 techniques were used in the production of Avatar. According to Cameron, work on the film had been delayed since the 1990s to allow the techniques to reach the necessary degree of advancement to adequately portray his vision of the film. The director planned to make use of photorealistic computer-generated characters, created using new motion-capture
Motion capture
Motion capture, motion tracking, or mocap are terms used to describe the process of recording movement and translating that movement on to a digital model. It is used in military, entertainment, sports, and medical applications, and for validation of computer vision and robotics...

 animation technologies he had been developing in the 14 months leading up to .

Innovations include a new system for lighting massive areas like Pandora's jungle, a motion-capture stage or "volume" six times larger than any previously used, and an improved method of capturing facial expressions, enabling full performance capture. To achieve the face capturing, actors wore individually made skull caps fitted with a tiny camera positioned in front of the actors' faces; the information collected about their facial expressions and eyes is then transmitted to computers. According to Cameron, the method allows the filmmakers to transfer 100% of the actors' physical performances to their digital counterparts.
Besides the performance capture data which were transferred directly to the computers, numerous reference cameras gave the digital artists multiple angles of each performance. A technically challenging scene was near the end of the film when the computer-generated Neytiri held the live action Jake in human form, and attention was given to the details of the shadows and reflected light between them.

The lead visual effects company was Weta Digital
Weta Digital
Weta Digital is a digital visual effects company based in Wellington, New Zealand. It was founded by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993 to produce the digital special effects for Heavenly Creatures. In 2007 Weta Digital’s Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Joe Letteri, was...

 in Wellington
Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

, New Zealand, at one point employing 900 people to work on the film. Because of the huge amount of data which needed to be stored, cataloged and available for everybody involved, even on the other side of the world, a new cloud computing
Cloud computing
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network ....

 and Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management
Digital asset management consists of management tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets...

 (DAM) system named Gaia was created by Microsoft especially for Avatar, which allowed the crews to keep track of and coordinate all stages in the digital processing. To render Avatar, Weta used a 10000 sq ft (929 m²) server farm
Server farm
A server farm or server cluster is a collection of computer servers usually maintained by an enterprise to accomplish server needs far beyond the capability of one machine. Server farms often have backup servers, which can take over the function of primary servers in the event of a primary server...

 making use of 4,000 Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA that provides products, technologies, softwares, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, including...

 servers with 35,000 processor cores running Ubuntu
Ubuntu (operating system)
Ubuntu is a computer operating system based on the Debian Linux distribution and distributed as free and open source software. It is named after the Southern African philosophy of Ubuntu...

 Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 and the Grid Engine
Sun Grid Engine
Oracle Grid Engine, previously known as Sun Grid Engine , previously known as CODINE or GRD , is an open source batch-queuing system, developed and supported by Sun Microsystems...

 cluster manager. The render farm
Render farm
A render farm is a computer cluster built to render computer-generated imagery , typically for film and television visual effects, using off-line batch processing. This is different from a render wall, which is a networked, tiled display used for real-time rendering...

 occupies the 193rd to 197th spots in the TOP500
TOP500
The TOP500 project ranks and details the 500 most powerful known computer systems in the world. The project was started in 1993 and publishes an updated list of the supercomputers twice a year...

 list of the world's most powerful supercomputer
Supercomputer
A supercomputer is a computer at the frontline of current processing capacity, particularly speed of calculation.Supercomputers are used for highly calculation-intensive tasks such as problems including quantum physics, weather forecasting, climate research, molecular modeling A supercomputer is a...

s. A new texturing and paint software system called Mari, was developed by The Foundry in cooperation with Weta. Creating the Na'vi characters and the virtual world of Pandora required over a petabyte
Petabyte
A petabyte is a unit of information equal to one quadrillion bytes, or 1000 terabytes. The unit symbol for the petabyte is PB...

 of digital storage, and each minute of the final footage for Avatar occupies 17.28 gigabytes of storage. To help finish preparing the special effects sequences on time, a number of other companies were brought on board, including Industrial Light & Magic, which worked alongside Weta Digital to create the battle sequences. ILM was responsible for the visual effects for many of the film's specialized vehicles and devised a new way to make CGI explosions. Joe Letteri
Joe Letteri
Joe Letteri is a senior visual effects artist, winner of 4 Academy award, 4 BAFTAs and 4 VES. He is the current Director of the Academy Award-winning Weta Digital, having joined the company in 2001. He has been the visual effects supervisor of several movies, his latest work being Avatar...

 was the film's visual effects general supervisor.

Music and soundtrack


Composer James Horner
James Horner
James Roy Horner is an American composer, orchestrator and conductor of orchestral and film music. He is noted for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for frequent use of Celtic musical elements...

 scored the film, his third collaboration with Cameron after Aliens
Aliens (film)
Aliens is a 1986 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, and Bill Paxton...

and Titanic
Titanic (1997 film)
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Rose's fiancé, Cal...

. Horner recorded parts of the score with a small chorus singing in the alien language Na'vi in .
He also worked with Wanda Bryant, an ethnomusicologist
Ethnomusicology
Ethnomusicology is defined as "the study of social and cultural aspects of music and dance in local and global contexts."Coined by the musician Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος ethnos and μουσική mousike , it is often considered the anthropology or ethnography of music...

, to create a music culture for the alien race.
The first scoring sessions were planned to take place in spring 2009. During production, Horner promised Cameron that he would not work on any other project except for Avatar and reportedly worked on the score from four in the morning till ten at night throughout the process. He stated in an interview, "Avatar has been the most difficult film I have worked on and the biggest job I have undertaken." Horner composed the score as two different scores merged into one. He first created a score that reflected the Na'vi way of sound and then combined it with a separate "traditional" score to drive the film.
British singer Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis
Leona Louise Lewis is a British singer and songwriter. Lewis first came to prominence in 2006 when she won the third series of the British television series The X Factor....

 was chosen to sing the theme song for the film, called "I See You". An accompanying music video, directed by Jake Nava
Jake Nava
Jake Nava was born on 17 August and grew up in northern London. He currently lives in eastern London.He graduated from the University of WestministerJake Nava is an English-born music video and film director.-Filmography:MUSIC VIDEOS...

, premiered , 2009, on MySpace
MySpace
Myspace is a social networking service owned by Specific Media LLC and pop star Justin Timberlake. Myspace launched in August 2003 and is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. In August 2011, Myspace had 33.1 million unique U.S. visitors....

.

Promotions


The first photo of the film was released on , 2009, and Empire
Empire (magazine)
Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media. From the first issue in July 1989, the magazine was edited by Barry McIlheney and published by Emap. Bauer purchased Emap Consumer Media in early 2008...

magazine released exclusive images from the film in its October issue. Cameron, producer Jon Landau
Jon Landau (film producer)
Jon Landau is an American film producer.Landau was born in New York City, New York, the son of Edie, a producer, and Ely A. Landau, a studio executive and producer, of non-practicing Jewish, German ancestry. He is one of the "famous faces" due to being a regular player on the online poker website...

, Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana , sometimes stylized Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role...

, Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang (actor)
Stephen Lang is an American actor and playwright. He started in theatre on Broadway but is well known for his film portrayals of Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals and George Pickett in Gettysburg , as well as for his 2009 roles as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar and as Texan lawman Charles...

, and Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver is an American actress. She is best known for her critically acclaimed role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, for which she has received worldwide recognition .Other notable roles include Dana...

 appeared at a panel, moderated by Tom Rothman, at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con on . Twenty-five minutes of footage was screened in Dolby 3D
Dolby 3D
Dolby 3D is a marketing name for a system from Dolby Laboratories, Inc. to show three-dimensional motion pictures in a digital cinema.- Technology :...

.
Weaver and Cameron appeared at additional panels to promote the film, speaking on the 23rd and 24th respectively. James Cameron announced at the Comic-Con Avatar Panel that will be 'Avatar Day'. On this day the trailer for the film was released in all theatrical formats. The official game trailer and toy line of the film were also unveiled on this day.

The 129-second trailer was released online on , 2009.
The new 210-second trailer was premiered in theatres on , 2009, then soon after premiered online on Yahoo! on , 2009, to positive reviews.
An extended version in IMAX 3D received overwhelmingly positive reviews. The Hollywood Reporter said that audience expectations were coloured by "the [same] establishment skepticism that preceded Titanic" and suggested the showing reflected the desire for original storytelling. The teaser has been among the most viewed trailers in the history of film marketing, reaching the first place of all trailers viewed on Apple.com with 4 million views.
On October 30, to celebrate the opening of the first 3-D cinema in Vietnam, Fox allowed Megastar Cinema to screen exclusive 16 minutes of Avatar to a number of press. The three-and-a-half-minute trailer of the film premiered live on , 2009, during a Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise which plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League . They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas...

 football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on the Diamond Vision screen, one of the world's largest video displays, and to TV audiences viewing the game on Fox
NFL on FOX
NFL on Fox is the brand name of the Fox Broadcasting Company's coverage of the National Football League's National Football Conference games, produced by Fox Sports...

. It is said to be the largest live motion picture trailer viewing in history.

The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia...

 collaborated with Twentieth Century Fox to launch a worldwide marketing campaign to promote the film. The highlight of the campaign was the website AVTR.com. Specially marked bottles and cans of Coca-Cola Zero
Coca-Cola Zero
Coca-Cola Zero or Coke Zero is a product of the Coca-Cola Company. It is a low-calorie variation of Coca-Cola specifically marketed to males, who were shown to associate 'diet' drinks with women....

, when held in front of a webcam, enabled users to interact with the website's 3-D features using augmented reality (AR) technology. The film was heavily promoted in an episode of the Fox Network
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

 series Bones
Bones (TV series)
Bones is an American crime drama television series that premiered on the Fox Network on September 13, 2005. The show is based on forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology, with each episode focusing on an FBI case file concerning the mystery behind human remains brought by FBI Special Agent...

in the episode "The Gamer In The Grease" (Season 5, Episode 9). Avatar star Joel David Moore has a recurring role on the program, and is seen in the episode anxiously awaiting the release of the film. A week prior to American release, Zoe Saldana promoted the film on Adult Swim
Adult Swim
Adult Swim is an adult-oriented Cable network that shares channel space with Cartoon Network from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am ET/PT in the United States, and broadcasts in countries such as Australia and New Zealand...

 when she was interviewed by an animated Space Ghost
Space Ghost
Space Ghost is a fictional superhero created by Hanna-Barbera Productions and designed by Alex Toth for CBS in the 1960s. In his original incarnation, he was a superhero who, with his sidekick teen helpers Jan, Jace, and Blip the monkey, fought supervillains in outer space...

.

Books


Avatar: A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora, a 224-page book in the form of a field guide to the film's fictional setting of the planet of Pandora, was released by Harper Entertainment on , 2009.
It is presented as a compilation of data collected by the humans about Pandora and the life on it, written by Maria Wilhelm and Dirk Mathison. HarperFestival also released Wilhelm's 48-page James Cameron's Avatar: The Reusable Scrapbook for children. The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure
The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure
The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure is a film production art book released on November 30, 2009, by Abrams Books.The book is an official movie tie-in for the film Avatar and features some of the concept artwork used in the production of the film. The main author is Lisa Fitzpatrick...

was released on , 2009, by Abrams Books
ABRAMS Books
Abrams, formerly Harry N. Abrams, Inc. , is an American publisher of high-quality art and illustrated books, and the enterprise is presently a subsidiary of the French publisher La Martinière Groupe...

. The book features detailed production artwork from the film, including production sketches, illustrations by Lisa Fitzpatrick, and film stills. Producer Jon Landau
Jon Landau (film producer)
Jon Landau is an American film producer.Landau was born in New York City, New York, the son of Edie, a producer, and Ely A. Landau, a studio executive and producer, of non-practicing Jewish, German ancestry. He is one of the "famous faces" due to being a regular player on the online poker website...

 wrote the foreword, Cameron wrote the epilogue, and director Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
Sir Peter Robert Jackson, KNZM is a New Zealand film director, producer, actor, and screenwriter, known for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy , adapted from the novel by J. R. R...

 wrote the preface. In , Abrams Books also released The Making of Avatar, a 272 page book that detailed the film's production process and contains over 500 color photographs and illustrations.

In a 2009 interview, Cameron said that he planned to write a novel version of Avatar after the film was released. In , producer Jon Landau stated that Cameron plans a prequel
Prequel
A prequel is a work that supplements a previously completed one, and has an earlier time setting.The widely recognized term was a 20th-century neologism, and a portmanteau from pre- and sequel...

 novel for Avatar that will "lead up to telling the story of the movie, but it would go into much more depth about all the stories that we didn't have time to deal with", saying that "Jim wants to write a novel that is a big, epic story that fills in a lot of things".

Video games



Cameron chose Ubisoft Montreal
Ubisoft Montreal
Ubisoft Montreal is a Canadian video game developer owned by French publisher Ubisoft.Ubisoft's North American studio is located in Montreal, Quebec...

 to create an Avatar game for the film in 2007. The filmmakers and game developers collaborated heavily, and Cameron decided to include some of Ubisoft's vehicle and creature designs into the film.
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game was released on , 2009, for most home video game consoles (PS3, Xbox 360
Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

, Wii
Wii
The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As a seventh-generation console, the Wii primarily competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3. Nintendo states that its console targets a broader demographic than that of the two others...

, Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
The is a portable game console produced by Nintendo, first released on November 21, 2004. A distinctive feature of the system is the presence of two separate LCD screens, the lower of which is a touchscreen, encompassed within a clamshell design, similar to the Game Boy Advance SP...

, iPhone
IPhone OS
iOS is Apple's mobile operating system. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple, Inc. devices such as the iPod Touch, iPad, and Apple TV. Apple, Inc. does not license iOS for installation on third-party hardware...

), Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 and for PSP
PlayStation Portable
The is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Corporation Development of the console was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on , 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004...

.

Action figures and postage stamps


Mattel Toys announced in December 2009 that it would be introducing a line of Avatar action figures.
Each action figure will be made with a 3-D web tag, called an i-TAG, that consumers can scan using a web cam, revealing unique on-screen content that is special to each specific action figure. A series of toys representing six different characters from the film were also distributed in McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 Happy Meal
Happy Meal
A "Happy Meal" is a meal specifically marketed at children, sold at the fast-food chain McDonald's since June 1979. A toy is typically included with the food, both of which are usually contained in a small box or paper bag with the McDonald's logo....

s in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, the United States and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

.

In December 2009, France Post
La Poste (France)
La Poste is the mail service of France, which also operates postal services in the French Overseas Departments of Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and the territorial collectivities of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Mayotte...

 released a special limited edition stamp based on Avatar, coinciding with the film's worldwide release.

Initial screening


Avatar premiered in London on , 2009, and was released theatrically worldwide from to 18. The film was originally set for release on , 2009, during filming, but was pushed back to allow more post-production time (the last shots were delivered in November), and to give more time for theatres worldwide to install 3-D projectors. Cameron stated that the film's aspect ratio
Aspect ratio (image)
The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this...

 would be 1.78:1 for 3-D screenings and that a 2.39:1 image would be extracted for 2-D screenings. However, a 3-D 2.39:1 extract was approved for use with constant-image-height screens (i.e. screens which increase in width to display 2.39:1 films). During a 3-D preview showing in Germany on , the movie's DRM
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

 'protection' system failed, and some copies delivered could not be watched at all the theaters. The problems were fixed in time for the public premiere, however. Avatar was released in a total of 3,457 theatres in the US, of which 2,032 theatres ran it in 3-D. In total 90% of all advance ticket sales for Avatar were for 3-D screenings.

Internationally, Avatar opened on a total of 14,604 screens in 106 territories, of which 3,671 were showing the film in 3-D (producing 56% of the first weekend gross). The film was simultaneously presented in IMAX 3D format, opening in 178 theaters in the United States on . The international IMAX release included 58 theaters beginning on , and 25 more theaters were to be added in the coming weeks. The IMAX release was the company's widest to date, a total of 261 theaters worldwide. The previous IMAX record opening was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 2009 fantasy film directed by David Yates and based on the novel of the same name by J. K. Rowling. It is the sixth instalment in the Harry Potter film series, written by Steve Kloves and produced by David Heyman and David Barron...

, which opened in 161 IMAX theatres in the US, and about 70 international. In summer 2009, 20th Century Fox Korea adapted and later released Avatar in 4-D version
4-D film
4-D film is a marketing term that describes an entertainment presentation system combining a 3-D film with physical effects in the theatre, which occur in synchronization with the film...

, which included "moving seats, smells of explosives, sprinkling water, laser lights and wind".

General



Avatar released internationally in more than 14,000 screens. Avatar earned $3,537,000 from midnight screenings domestically (United States and Canada), with the initial 3-D release limited to 2,200 screens. The film earned $26,752,099 on its opening day, and $77,025,481 over its opening weekend, making it the second largest December opening ever behind I Am Legend
I Am Legend (film)
I Am Legend is a 2007 post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name, following 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 1971's The Omega Man. Smith plays virologist Robert...

, the largest domestic opening weekend for a film not based on a franchise (topping The Incredibles), the highest opening weekend for a film entirely in 3D (breaking Up
Up (2009 film)
Up is a 2009 American computer-animated comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures and presented in Disney Digital 3-D. The film premiered on May 29, 2009 in North America and opened the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first animated and 3D film...

s record), and the 25th largest national United States weekend opening, despite a blizzard
North American blizzard of 2009
The North American blizzard of 2009 was a Category 2 nor'easter that formed over the Gulf of Mexico in December 2009 and became a major snowstorm for the East Coast of the United States and Canadian Atlantic provinces...

 which blanketed the East Coast of the United States
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 and reportedly hurt its opening weekend results. The IMAX opening also broke box office records, with 178 theaters generating approximately $9.5 million, 13% of the film's $73 million (at the time) domestic gross on less than 3% of the screens.

International markets generating opening weekend tallies of at least $10 million were Russia ($19.7 million), France ($17.4 million), the UK ($13.8 million), Germany ($13.3 million), South Korea ($11.7 million), Australia ($11.5 million) and Spain ($11.0 million). Avatars worldwide gross was $241.6 million after five days, the ninth largest opening-weekend gross of all time, and the largest for a non-franchise, non-sequel and original film. 58 international IMAX screens generated an estimated $4.1 million during the opening weekend.
The film's revenues decreased by 1.8% in its second weekend in domestic markets, marking a rare occurrence, earning $75,617,183, to remain in first place at the box office and recording the biggest second weekend of all time. The film experienced another small decrease in revenue in its third weekend, dropping 9.4% to $68,490,688 domestically, remaining in first place at the box office, to set a third-weekend record. On the 19th day of the film's international release, it crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide, making it the fastest film ever to do so and also making it the highest-grossing release of 2009 worldwide. In its fourth weekend, Avatar continued to lead the box office domestically, setting a new all-time fourth-weekend record of $50,306,217, and becoming the highest-grossing 2009 release in the United States.
In the film's fifth weekend, it set the Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King's birthday, January 15. The floating holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform...

 four-day weekend record, grossing $54,401,446, and set a fifth-weekend record with a take of $42,785,612. It held to the top spot to set the sixth and seventh weekend records earning $34,944,081 and $31,280,029 respectively. On it became the first film to earn over , and on , after 72 days of domestic release, it became the first film to gross over . However, after inflation adjustment
Inflation adjustment
Inflation adjustment is the process of adjusting economic indicators and the prices of goods and services from different time periods to the same price level. To adjust for inflation, an indicator is divided by the inflation index...

, the movie falls to fourteenth on the all-time box office list. It remained in the number one spot at the domestic box office for seven consecutive weeks—the most consecutive No. 1 weekends since Titanic spent 15 weekends at No. 1 in 1997–'98—and also spent 11 consecutive weekends at the top of the box office outside the United States and Canada, breaking the record of 9 consecutive weekends set by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is a 2006 adventure fantasy film and the second film of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, following Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl . It was directed by Gore Verbinski, written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and produced by...

. By the end of its first theatrical release Avatar had grossed $749,766,139 in Canada and the U.S., and $1,990,639,582 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $2,740,405,721.

Including the revenue from a re-release of
Avatar featuring extended footage, Avatar has grossed $760,507,625 in the U.S. and Canada, and $2,021,767,547 in other territories for a worldwide total of over , with 72.7% of its total worldwide gross in international markets. Avatar has set a number of box office records during its release: on , 2010, it surpassed Titanics worldwide gross to become the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide 41 days after its international release, just two days after taking the foreign box office record, and on , 47 days after its domestic release, Avatar overtook Titanic to become the highest-grossing film of all time in Canada and the United States. It became the highest-grossing film of all time in at least 30 other countries and is the first film to earn over $2 billion in foreign box office receipts.
IMAX ticket sales account for $228 million of its worldwide gross, more than double the previous record.

Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo
Box Office Mojo is a website that tracks box office revenue in a systematic, algorithmic way. Brandon Gray started the site in 1999. In 2002, Gray partnered with Sean Saulsbury and they grew the site to nearly two million readers when, in July 2008, the company was purchased by Amazon.com through...

 estimates that after adjusting for the rise in average ticket prices, Avatar would be the 14th-highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S. and Canada.
Box Office Mojo also observes that the higher ticket prices for 3-D and IMAX screenings have had a significant impact on Avatar's gross; it estimated, on , 2010, that Avatar had sold approximately tickets in North American theatres, more than any other film since 1999's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. On a worldwide basis, Avatar ranks third after adjusting for inflation, behind Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

and Titanic, although some reports place it ahead of Titanic.

Commercial analysis


Before its release, various film critics and fan communities predicted the film would be a significant disappointment at the box office
Box office bomb
The phrase box office bomb refers to a film for which the production and marketing costs greatly exceeded the revenue regained by the movie studio. This should not be confused with Hollywood accounting when official figures show large losses, yet the movie is a financial success.A film's financial...

, in line with predictions made for Cameron's previous blockbuster Titanic. This criticism ranged from Avatars film budget, to its concept and use of 3-D "blue cat people".
Slate
Slate (magazine)
Slate is a US-based English language online current affairs and culture magazine created in 1996 by former New Republic editor Michael Kinsley, initially under the ownership of Microsoft as part of MSN. On 21 December 2004 it was purchased by the Washington Post Company...

magazine's Daniel Engber complimented the 3-D effects, but criticized them for reminding him of certain CGI characters from the Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

prequel films and for having the "uncanny valley
Uncanny Valley
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers...

" effect.
The New York Times noted that 20th Century Fox executives had decided to release Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is a 2009 American comedy film directed by Betty Thomas. The film stars Zachary Levi, David Cross, Jason Lee, and the voices of Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Matthew Gray Gubler, Christina Applegate, Amy Poehler, and Anna Faris...

alongside Avatar, calling it a "secret weapon" to cover any unforeseeable losses at the box-office.

Box office analysts, on the other hand, estimated that the film would be a box office success. "The holy grail of 3-D has finally arrived," said an analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "This is why all these 3-D venues were built: for
Avatar. This is the one. The behemoth." The "cautionary estimate" was that Avatar would bring in around $60 million in its opening weekend. Others guessed higher. Some analysts believed the film's three-dimensionality would help its box office performance, given that recent 3-D films had been successful.

Cameron said he felt the pressure of the predictions, but that pressure is good for film-makers. "It makes us think about our audiences and what the audience wants," he stated. "We owe them a good time. We owe them a piece of good entertainment." Although he felt Avatar would appeal to everyone and that the film could not afford to have a target demographic
Demographics
Demographics are the most recent statistical characteristics of a population. These types of data are used widely in sociology , public policy, and marketing. Commonly examined demographics include gender, race, age, disabilities, mobility, home ownership, employment status, and even location...

, he especially wanted hard-core science-fiction fans to see it: "If I can just get 'em in the damn theater, the film will act on them in the way it's supposed to, in terms of taking them on an amazing journey and giving them this rich emotional experience." Cameron was aware of the sentiment that Avatar would need significant "repeat business" just to make up for its budget and achieve box office success, and believed Avatar could inspire the same "sharing" reaction as Titanic. He said that film worked because, "When people have an experience that's very powerful in the movie theatre, they want to go share it. They want to grab their friend and bring them, so that they can enjoy it. They want to be the person to bring them the news that this is something worth having in their life."

After the film's release and unusually strong box office performance over its first two weeks, it was debated as the one film capable of surpassing Titanics worldwide gross, and its continued strength perplexed box office analysts. Other films in recent years had been cited as contenders for surpassing Titanic, such as 2008's The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight (film)
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins...

, but Avatar was considered the first film with a genuine chance to do so, and its numbers being aided by higher ticket prices for 3-D screenings did not fully explain its success to box office analysts. "Most films are considered to be healthy if they manage anything less than a 50% drop from their first weekend to their second. Dipping just 11% from the first to the third is unheard of," relayed Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office analysis for Hollywood.com. "This is just unprecedented," he said. "I had to do a double take. I thought it was a miscalculation." Analysts predicted second place for the film's worldwide gross, but most were uncertain about it surpassing Titanic because "Today's films flame out much faster than they did when Titanic was released."
Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo, believed in the film's chances of becoming the highest-grossing film of all time, though he also believed it was too early to surmise because it had only played during the holidays. He said, "While Avatar may beat Titanic's revenue record, it will be tough, and the film is unlikely to surpass Titanic in attendance. Ticket prices were about $3 cheaper in the late 1990s." Cameron said he did not think it was realistic to "try to topple Titanic off its perch" because it "just struck some kind of chord" and there had been other good films in recent years. He changed his prediction by mid-January. "It's gonna happen. It's just a matter of time," he said.

Though analysts have been unable to agree that Avatars success is attributable to one primary factor, several explanations have been advanced. First, January is historically "the dumping ground for the year's weakest films", and this also applied to 2010.
Cameron himself said he decided to open the film in December so that it would have less competition from then into January.
Titanic capitalized on the same January predictability, and earned most of its gross in 1998. Additionally, Avatar established itself as a "must-see" event. Gray said, "At this point, people who are going to see Avatar are going to see Avatar and would even if the slate was strong." Marketing the film as a "novelty factor" also helped. Fox positioned the film as a cinematic event that should be seen in the theatres. "It's really hard to sell the idea that you can have the same experience at home," stated David Mumpower, an analyst at BoxOfficeProphets.com. The "Oscar buzz" surrounding the film and international viewings helped. "Two-thirds of Titanic's haul was earned overseas, and Avatar [tracked] similarly ... Avatar opened in 106 markets globally and was No. 1 in all of them", and the markets "such as Russia, where Titanic saw modest receipts in 1997 and 1998, are white-hot today" with "more screens and moviegoers" than before. Films in 3-D accumulated $1.3 billion in 2009, according to Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

, "a threefold increase over 2008 and more than 10% of the total 2009 box-office gross". The increased ticket price – an average of $2 to $3 per ticket in most markets – helped the film. Likewise, Entertainment Weekly attributed the film's success to 3-D glasses, but also to its "astronomic word-of-mouth
Word of mouth
Word of mouth, or viva voce, is the passing of information from person to person by oral communication. Storytelling is the oldest form of word-of-mouth communication where one person tells others of something, whether a real event or something made up. Oral tradition is cultural material and...

". Not only do some theaters charge up to $18.50 for IMAX tickets, but "the buzz" created by the new technology was the possible cause for sold-out screenings. Gray said
Avatar having no basis in previously established material makes its performance remarkable and even more impressive. "The movie might be derivative of many movies in its story and themes," he said, "but it had no direct antecedent like the other top-grossing films: Titanic (historical events), the Star Wars movies (an established film franchise), or The Lord of the Rings (literature). It was a tougher sell ..."

Critical reception

See also: Themes in Avatar
Themes in Avatar
The 2009 American science fiction film Avatar has earned widespread success, becoming the highest-grossing film so far. The blockbuster has provoked vigorous discussion of a wide variety of cultural, social, political, and religious themes identified by critics and commentators, and the film's...

 for more reviews

The film was well received by film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

 reports that 83% of 275 professional critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.4 out of 10. Among Rotten Tomatoes'
Top Critics, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 95%, based on a total of 39 reviews. The site's consensus is that "It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron's singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking."
Metacritic
Metacritic
Metacritic.com is a website that collates reviews of music albums, games, movies, TV shows and DVDs. For each product, a numerical score from each review is obtained and the total is averaged. An excerpt of each review is provided along with a hyperlink to the source. Three colour codes of Green,...

, which assigns a weighted mean
Weighted mean
The weighted mean is similar to an arithmetic mean , where instead of each of the data points contributing equally to the final average, some data points contribute more than others...

 rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 84% based on 35 reviews. CinemaScore
CinemaScore
CinemaScore is a market research firm based in Las Vegas. It surveys film audiences to rate their viewing experiences with letter grades, reports the results, and forecasts box office receipts based on the data.-Background:...

 polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave
Avatar was A on an A+ to F scale. Every demographic surveyed was reported to give this rating. These polls also indicated that the main draw of the film was its use of 3-D
3-D film
A 3-D film or S3D film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception...

.

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 of the
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

called the film "extraordinary" and gave it four stars out of four. "Watching Avatar, I felt sort of the same as when I saw Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

in 1977", he said. Like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, the film "employs a new generation of special effects. "Avatar" is not simply a sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough. It has a flat-out Green and anti-war message".
A. O. Scott
A. O. Scott
Anthony Oliver Scott, known as A. O. Scott , is an American journalist and critic. He is a chief film critic for The New York Times, along with Manohla Dargis.-Background and education:...

 of
At The Movies also compared his viewing of the film to the first time he viewed Star Wars, and added that although "the script is a little bit ... obvious," it was "part of what made it work".
Todd McCarthy of
Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

praised the film. "The King of the World sets his sights on creating another world entirely in Avatar, and it's very much a place worth visiting."
Kirk Honeycutt of
The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter
Formerly a daily trade magazine, The Hollywood Reporter re-launched in late 2010 as a unique hybrid publication serving the entertainment industry and a consumer audience...

gave the film a positive review. "The screen is alive with more action and the soundtrack pops with more robust music than any dozen sci-fi shoot-'em-ups you care to mention" he stated.
Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers
Peter Travers
Peter Travers is an American film critic, who has written for, in turn, People and Rolling Stone. Travers also hosts a celebrity interview show called Popcorn on ABC News Now and ABCNews.com.-Career:...

 awarded
Avatar three and a half out of four stars and wrote in his print review, "It extends the possibilities of what movies can do. Cameron's talent may just be as big as his dreams."
Richard Corliss
Richard Corliss
Richard Nelson Corliss is a writer for Time magazine who focuses on movies, with the occasional article on music or sports. Corliss is the former editor-in-chief of Film Comment...

 of
Time magazine thought that the film was, "the most vivid and convincing creation of a fantasy world ever seen in the history of moving pictures."
Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan
Kenneth Turan is an American film critic and Lecturer in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California.-Background:...

 of the
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 felt the film has "powerful" visual accomplishments but "flat dialogue" and "obvious characterization".
James Berardinelli
James Berardinelli
James Berardinelli is an American online film critic.-Personal life:Berardinelli was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey and spent his early childhood in Morristown, New Jersey. At the age of nine years, he relocated to the township of Cherry Hill, New Jersey...

, film critic for ReelViews, praised the film and its story, giving it four out of four stars he wrote, "In 3-D, it's immersive—but the traditional film elements—story, character, editing, theme, emotional resonance, etc.—are presented with sufficient expertise to make even the 2-D version an engrossing 2½-hour experience."

Avatars underlying social and political themes attracted attention. Armond White
Armond White
Armond White is a New York-based film and music critic known for his provocative and idiosyncratic film criticism, which some have characterized as contrarian. He is currently the editor of City Arts, for which he also writes articles and reviews...

 of the New York Press
New York Press
New York Press was a free alternative weekly in New York City, that was published from 1988 to 2011. During its lifetime, it was the main competitor to the Village Voice...

wrote that Cameron used villainous American characters to misrepresent facets of militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

, capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, and imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

. Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

's first indigenous president, praised the film for its "profound show of resistance to capitalism and the struggle for the defense of nature".
Russell D. Moore
Russell D. Moore
Russell D. Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a pastor, author of nine books and numerous articles, as well as a teacher, and a theologian....

 in The Christian Post
The Christian Post
The Christian Post is a pan-denominational, Evangelical Christian newspaper based in Washington, D.C..Launched initially as an online publication, the newspaper was founded in 2000 to deliver news, information, and commentaries relevant to Christians across denominational lines and to bring greater...

concluded that propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 exists in the film and stated, "If you can get a theater full of people in Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 to stand and applaud the defeat of their country in war, then you've got some amazing special effects." Some commentators sympathetic to anarcho-primitivism
Anarcho-primitivism
Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. According to anarcho-primitivism, the shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural subsistence gave rise to social stratification, coercion, and alienation...

 have even praised the film as a manifesto for their cause. Adam Cohen of The New York Times was more positive about the film, calling its anti-imperialist message "a 22nd-century version of the American colonists vs. the British
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, India vs. the Raj
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

, or Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

 vs. United Fruit". Ross Douthat
Ross Douthat
Ross Gregory Douthat is a conservative American author, blogger and New York Times columnist. He was a senior editor at The Atlantic and is author of Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class and, with Reihan Salam, Grand New Party , which David Brooks called the "best single...

 of The New York Times opined that the film is "Cameron's long apologia for pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

 ... Hollywood's religion of choice for a generation now", while Saritha Prabhu of The Tennessean
The Tennessean
The Tennessean is the principal daily newspaper in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Its circulation area covers 39 counties in Middle Tennessee and eight counties in southern Kentucky....

called the film a misportrayal of pantheism and Eastern spirituality
Eastern religion
This article is about far east and Indian religions. For other eastern religions see: Eastern_world#Eastern_cultureEastern religions refers to religions originating in the Eastern world —India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia —and thus having dissimilarities with Western religions...

 in general, and Maxim Osipov of The Hindustan Times, on the contrary, commended the film's message for its overall consistency with the teachings of Hinduism in the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

. Annalee Newitz
Annalee Newitz
Annalee Newitz is an American journalist who covers the cultural impact of science and technology. She received a PhD in English and American Studies from UC Berkeley, and in 1997 published the widely cited book, White Trash: Race and Class in America. From 2004–2005 she was a policy analyst...

 of io9
Io9
io9 is a blog launched in 2008 by Gawker Media. The blog focuses on the subjects of science fiction, futurism, and advancements in the fields of science and technology....

 concluded that Avatar is another film that has the recurring "fantasy about race" whereby "some white guy" becomes the "most awesome" member of a non-white culture. Michael Phillips
Michael Phillips (critic)
Michael Phillips is a film critic for the Chicago Tribune newspaper. Previously he was the drama critic of the Tribune; the Los Angeles Times; the St. Paul Pioneer Press; the San Diego Union-Tribune; and the Dallas Times Herald....

 of the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

called Avatar "the season's ideological Rorschach blot
Rorschach test
The Rorschach test is a psychological test in which subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning...

", while Miranda Devine
Miranda Devine
Miranda Devine is an Australian columnist and writer noted for her conservative stance on a range of social and political issues. Her column, formerly printed twice weekly in Fairfax Media newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald, now appears in the News Limited Daily Telegraph with...

 of The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia. The newspaper is published six days a week. The newspaper's Sunday counterpart, The...

felt that, "It is impossible to watch Avatar without being banged over the head with the director's ideological hammer."

Critics and audiences have cited similarities with other films, literature or media, with several accounts concluding the matter as simple "borrowing" and others claiming outright plagiarism. Ty Burr
Ty Burr
Ty Burr has been a film critic for the Boston Globe since 2002 where he reviews films alongside Wesley Morris.Born in 1957, he studied film at Dartmouth College and New York University and has written three books: The Hundred Greatest Movies of All Time, The Hundred Greatest Stars of All Time and...

 of the Boston Globe called it "the same movie" as Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves
Dances with Wolves is a 1990 epic western film directed by and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells the story of a Union Army Lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a...

. Parallels to the concept and use of an avatar are in Poul Anderson's
Poul Anderson
Poul William Anderson was an American science fiction author who began his career during one of the Golden Ages of the genre and continued to write and remain popular into the 21st century. Anderson also authored several works of fantasy, historical novels, and a prodigious number of short stories...

 1957 short story Call Me Joe
Call me Joe
Call Me Joe is a science fiction story by Poul Anderson about an attempt to explore the surface of the planet Jupiter using remotely controlled artificial life-forms. It focuses on the feelings of the disabled man who operates the artificial body. The story was published in Astounding Science...

, in which a paralyzed man uses his mind remotely to control an alien body. Cinema audiences in Russia have noted that Avatar has elements in common with the 1960s Noon Universe
Noon Universe
The Noon Universe is a fictional future setting for a number of hard science fiction novels written by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The universe is named after Noon: 22nd Century, the chronologically first novel from the series...

novels by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
The brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are Soviet Jewish-Russian science fiction authors who collaborated on their fiction.-Life and work:...

, which are set in the 22nd century on a forested world called Pandora with a sentient indigenous species called the Nave. Various reviews have compared Avatar to the films FernGully: The Last Rainforest
FernGully: The Last Rainforest
FernGully: The Last Rainforest is a 1992 Australian-American animated film directed by Bill Kroyer, produced by Peter Faiman and Wayne Young, and written by Jim Cox based on a book of the same name by Diana Young. It is a film with a strong environmental theme...

, Pocahontas
Pocahontas (1995 film)
Pocahontas is the 33rd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and was originally released to selected theaters on June 16, 1995 by Walt Disney Pictures...

and The Last Samurai
The Last Samurai
The Last Samurai is a 2003 American epic drama film directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick, who also co-wrote the screenplay based on a story by John Logan. The film was inspired by a project developed by writer and director Vincent Ward, who had previously filmed the movie in 1990, starring...

.
NPR
NPR
NPR, formerly National Public Radio, is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR was created in 1970, following congressional passage of the Public Broadcasting...

's Morning Edition
Morning Edition
Morning Edition is an American radio news program produced and distributed by National Public Radio . It airs weekday mornings and runs for two hours, and many stations repeat one or both hours. The show feeds live from 05:00 to 09:00 ET, with feeds and updates as required until noon...

has compared the film to a montage of tropes
Trope (literature)
A literary trope is the usage of figurative language in literature, or a figure of speech in which words are used in a sense different from their literal meaning...

, with one commentator stating that Avatar was made by mixing a bunch of film scripts in a blender. Some sources noted similarities to the artwork of Roger Dean, which featured fantastic images
Fantasy art
Fantasy art is a genre of art that depicts magical or other supernatural themes, ideas, creatures or settings. While there is some overlap with science fiction, horror and other speculative fiction art, there are unique elements not generally found in other forms of speculative fiction art...

 of floating rock formations and dragons. Similarities have been found between Avatar and Ursula Le Guin's novel The Word for World is Forest
The Word for World is Forest
The Word for World Is Forest is a science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, published in 1976 and based on her 1972 novella which was nominated for a Nebula Award.It is part of Le Guin's Hainish Cycle.-Setting:...

, with Gary Westfahl
Gary Westfahl
Gary Westfahl is a scholarly author and reviewer of science fiction. He has written reviews for the Los Angeles Times, Internet Review of Science Fiction and Locus Online. He is a professor at the University of California in Riverside....

 writing for Locus Online
Locus Online
Locus Online is the online component of Locus Magazine. It publishes news briefs related to the science fiction, fantasy and horror publishing world, along with original reviews and feature articles, and excerpts of articles that appeared in the print edition. Information for Locus Online is...

 that "... the science fiction story that most closely resembles Avatar has to be Ursula K. Le Guin's novella "The Word for World Is Forest" (1972), another epic about a benevolent race of alien beings who happily inhabit dense forests while living in harmony with nature until they are attacked and slaughtered by invading human soldiers who believe that the only good gook
Gook
Gook is a derogatory term for East Asians which came to prominence in reference to enemy soldiers. U.S. Marines serving in the Philippines in the early 20th century used the word to refer to Filipinos. The term continued to be used by American soldiers stationed around the world to refer to...

 is a dead gook."

Avatar received compliments from filmmakers, with Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 praising it as "the most evocative and amazing science-fiction movie since Star Wars" and others calling it "audacious and awe inspiring", "master class", and "brilliant". On the other hand, Duncan Jones
Duncan Jones
Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones , also known as Zowie Bowie is an English film director, best known for directing the science fiction films Moon and Source Code .-Childhood and family life:...

 said: "It's not in my top three James Cameron films. ... [A]t what point in the film did you have any doubt what was going to happen next?". Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

ranked Avatar number 10 in their list of "Best Movies of the Decade" and IGN
IGN
IGN is an entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. IGN's main website comprises several specialty sites or "channels", each occupying a subdomain and covering a specific area of entertainment...

 listed Avatar as number 22 on their list of the top 25 Sci-Fi movies of all time.

Accolades



Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

 and Best Director. It won the awards for Art Direction
Academy Award for Best Art Direction
The Academy Awards are the oldest awards ceremony for achievements in motion pictures. The Academy Award for Best Art Direction recognizes achievement in art direction on a film. The films below are listed with their production year, so the Oscar 2000 for best art direction went to a film from 1999...

, Cinematography
Academy Award for Best Cinematography
The Academy Award for Best Cinematography is an Academy Award awarded each year to a cinematographer for work in one particular motion picture.-History:...

, and Visual Effects. The New York Film Critics Online
New York Film Critics Online
The New York Film Critics Online is an organization composed of Internet film critics based in New York City. The group meets once a year, in December, for voting on its annual NYFCO Awards.-Awards:*New York Film Critics Online Awards 2003...

 honored the film with its Best Picture award.
The film also received nine nominations for the Critics' Choice Awards of the Broadcast Film Critics Association
Broadcast Film Critics Association
The Broadcast Film Critics Association is the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada , representing approximately 250 television, radio and online critics....

, winning in the Best Action Film and several technical categories.
It won two of the St. Louis Film Critics awards: Best Visual Effects and Most Original, Innovative or Creative Film. Avatar also picked up four nominations for the 67th Golden Globe Awards
67th Golden Globe Awards
The 67th Golden Globe Awards was telecasted live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on Sunday, January 17, 2010 by NBC, from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM and 8:00PM – 11:00 PM . The ceremonies were hosted by Ricky Gervais, and were broadcast live for the first time.Nominations were...

, winning for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director. The film also received eight nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is a charity in the United Kingdom that hosts annual awards shows for excellence in film, television, television craft, video games and forms of animation.-Introduction:...

 (BAFTA), including Best Film and Director, but won for only Production Design and Special Visual Effects. The film has additionally received various other awards, nominations and honors.

Extended theatrical re-release


In July 2010, Cameron confirmed that there would be an extended theatrical re-release of the film on , 2010, exclusively in 3-D theaters and IMAX 3D. Avatar: Special Edition includes an additional nine minutes of footage, all of which is CG
Computer graphics
Computer graphics are graphics created using computers and, more generally, the representation and manipulation of image data by a computer with help from specialized software and hardware....

, including an extension of the sex scene and various other scenes that were cut from the original theatrical film. This extended re-release resulted in the film's run time approaching the current IMAX platter maximum of 170 minutes, thereby leaving less time for the end credits. Cameron stated that the nine minutes of added scenes cost more than a minute to produce and finish. During its 12-week re-release, Avatar: Special Edition grossed an additional $10.7 million domestically and $22.4 million worldwide.

Home media


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the home video distribution arm of the 20th Century Fox film studio. It was established in 1976 as Magnetic Video Corporation, and later as 20th Century Fox Video, CBS/Fox Video and FoxVideo, Inc....

 released the film on DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 and Blu-ray in the US on , 2010 and in the UK on . The US release was not on a Tuesday as is the norm, but was done to coincide with Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

. The first DVD and Blu-ray release does not contain any supplemental features other than the theatrical film and the disc menu in favor of and to make space for optimal picture and sound. The release also preserves the film's native 1.78:1 (16:9
16:9
16:9 is an aspect ratio with a width of 16 units and height of 9. Since 2009, it has become the most common aspect ratio for sold televisions and computer monitors and is also the international standard format of HDTV, Full HD, non-HD digital television and analog widescreen television ...

) format as Cameron felt that was the best format to watch the film. The Blu-ray disc contains DRM
Digital rights management
Digital rights management is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale. DRM is any technology that inhibits uses of digital content that...

 (BD+ 5
BD+
BD+ is a component of the Blu-ray Disc Digital Rights Management system. It was developed by Cryptography Research Inc. and is based on their Self-Protecting Digital Content concept...

) which some Blu-ray players might not support without a firmware
Firmware
In electronic systems and computing, firmware is a term often used to denote the fixed, usually rather small, programs and/or data structures that internally control various electronic devices...

 update.

Avatar set a first-day launch record in the U.S. for Blu-ray sales at 1.5 million units sold, breaking the record previously held by The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight (film)
The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins...

(600,000 units sold). First-day DVD and Blu-ray sales combined were over 4 million units sold. In its first four days of release, sales of Avatar on Blu-ray reached 2.7 million in the United States and Canada – overtaking The Dark Knight to become the best ever selling Blu-ray release in the region. The release later broke the Blu-ray sales record in the UK the following week. In its first three weeks of release, the film sold a total of DVD and Blu-ray discs combined, a new record for sales in that period. As of , 2011, DVD sales (not including Blu-ray) totaled over units sold with in revenue.

The Avatar Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition on DVD and Blu-ray was released on , 2010. Three different versions of the film are present on the discs: the original theatrical cut, the special edition cut, and a collector's extended cut (with the DVD set spreading them on two discs, but the Blu-ray set presenting them on a single disc). The collector's extended cut contains 6 more minutes of footage, thus making it 16 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut. Cameron mentioned, "you can sit down, and in a continuous screening of the film, watch it with the Earth opening". He stated the "Earth opening" is an additional 4 1/2 minutes of scenes that were in the film for much of its production but were ultimately cut before the film's theatrical release. The release also includes an additional 45 minutes of deleted scenes and other extras.

Cameron initially stated that Avatar would be released in 3-D around , but the studio issued a correction: "3-D is in the conceptual stage and Avatar will not be out on 3D Blu-ray in November." In , Fox stated that the 3-D version would be released some time in 2011. It was later revealed that Fox had given Panasonic
Panasonic
Panasonic is an international brand name for Japanese electric products manufacturer Panasonic Corporation, which was formerly known as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd...

 an exclusive license for the 3-D Blu-ray version and only with the purchase of a Panasonic 3DTV. The length of Panasonic's exclusivity period is stated to last until . On , Cameron stated that the standalone 3-D Blu-ray would be the final version of the film's home release and that it was, "maybe one, two years out".

On Christmas Eve 2010, Avatar had its 3-D television world premiere on Sky
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....

.

Sequels


In 2006, Cameron stated that if Avatar was successful, he hoped to make two sequel
Sequel
A sequel is a narrative, documental, or other work of literature, film, theatre, or music that continues the story of or expands upon issues presented in some previous work...

s to the film. In 2010, he said the film's widespread success confirmed that he will. The prospect of sequels was something he planned from the start, going so far as to include certain scenes in the film for future story followups. Cameron said he wants to make the sequel "cheaper and faster" and that the story will be a continuation of the characters introduced in Avatar. When being interviewed by AP
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 on the red carpet of the 82nd Academy Awards
82nd Academy Awards
The 82nd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , honored the best films of 2009 and took place March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. The ceremony was scheduled well after...

, Cameron stated "if I were to start Avatar 2 tomorrow, it would still be three years away." In an interview, Cameron stated that his plans are to shoot both sequels in the planned trilogy back-to-back and that he was waiting for deals to be made. He also mentioned, "what I'm working on primarily is the novel" and "presumably, once the novel is nailed down, work will begin in earnest on getting the sequel going." In an interview in Perth's Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (Western Australia)
The Sunday Times, owned by News Limited, is a tabloid Sunday newspaper printed in Perth and distributed throughout Western Australia.-History:...

 on , 2010, Cameron revealed his intention to capture footage for this sequel at the bottom of the Mariana Trench
Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about long but has a mean width of only...

. For this purpose he has commissioned a deepwater submersible. In , Cameron officially signed an agreement with Fox to direct two sequels to Avatar, which are scheduled to be released in and . Both sequels will be produced by Cameron's own Lightstorm Entertainment
Lightstorm Entertainment
Lightstorm Entertainment is an American film production company. The company was founded by Canadian filmmaker James Cameron and film producer Larry Kasanoff in 1990 and is best known for producing the films Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic and Cameron's latest film Avatar...

 in partnership with 20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

.

Though plots for future sequels have not been laid out yet, Cameron stated that they are going to widen the universe while exploring other moons of Polyphemus. The first sequel will focus on the ocean of Pandora but will also feature more of the rainforest from the original movie. It will continue to follow the characters of Jake and Neytiri. Cameron implied that the humans would return as the antagonists of the story. "I expect that those nasty humans didn't go away forever," he said. Sam Worthington
Sam Worthington
Samuel Henry J. "Sam" Worthington is an English born, Australian actor. After almost a decade of roles in Australian TV shows and films, Worthington gained Hollywood's attention by playing Marcus Wright in Terminator Salvation and the lead role, Jake Sully, in James Cameron's science...

 and Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana , sometimes stylized Zoë Saldaña, is an American actress. She had her breakthrough role in the 2000 film Center Stage and later gained prominence for her roles as Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Uhura in the 2009 film Star Trek, and a starring role...

 have signed on to reprise their roles in future sequels, and Stephen Lang
Stephen Lang (actor)
Stephen Lang is an American actor and playwright. He started in theatre on Broadway but is well known for his film portrayals of Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals and George Pickett in Gettysburg , as well as for his 2009 roles as Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar and as Texan lawman Charles...

, who played Colonel Miles Quaritch, believes his character could make a return: "You think those two arrows in my chest are going to stop me from coming back?" Lang told Entertainment Weekly, "Nothing's over so long as they've got my DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

." In , Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver is an American actress. She is best known for her critically acclaimed role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, for which she has received worldwide recognition .Other notable roles include Dana...

, who played Dr. Grace Augustine, announced the possibility of her return for a sequel in an interview for the Le Grand Journal TV Show in Paris.

During the 2011 CinemaCon in Las Vegas, James Cameron stated his intention to film the two Avatar sequels at a higher frame rate than the industry standard 24 frames per second, in order to add a heightened sense of reality.

In September 2011, it was confirmed that Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver is an American actress. She is best known for her critically acclaimed role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films: Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, for which she has received worldwide recognition .Other notable roles include Dana...

 will be returning to Avatar 2, with James Cameron stating that "no one ever dies in science fiction."

Further reading


}} A detailed analysis of the film's parallels with the teachings of the Vedas
Vedas
The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

. }} }}

External links