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Thompson on Hollywood

Avatar Budget, Up in the Air Tweet Chart, Pattinson vs. Kidman, Finke Attacks, Indie Bloodbath Redux

James Cameron's Avatar did not cost $500 million. First of all, the thing was in R & D for years. The negative cost is $300 to 400 million, but no one knows for sure. If you add worldwide marketing to it, maybe it creeps up to $500 million, because it's a huge movie that Fox has already spent a lot to flog, with World Series spots, Avatar Day, Comic-Con and Tokyo Film Fest footage etc. Online folks went nuts over this Michael Cieply NYT story which threw out an "approaching $500 million" figure. Loved this response from @ColeAbaius: "Not what I heard. insider claims that AVATAR will end up at $29 Trillion. And it was actually shot in space."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 10, 2009 1:26 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Avatar Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

As more finished footage becomes available for James Cameron's Avatar---which is about 75% CG--Fox is releasing more material in advance of the December 18 release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2009 7:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

New Avatar Trailer is Up

I know there are a lot of Avatar naysayers out there but when the hairs rise on the back of my neck I know there's something real going on. I felt it with Twilight and I feel it with this latest Avatar trailer which went up on Yahoo at 10 am PST (video on jump).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 29, 2009 5:18 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Avatar Watch: Action Figures, Concept Art, Novel

While James Cameron and the VFX wizards at Weta Digital in Wellywood are trying to finish the last big effects sequences in Avatar--which is set for December 18 release--Cameron is also working on many of the ancillary marketing and licensing sidelines that will help sell this pricey 3-D movie. (The official sticker price is $237 million, but we can safely assume that that figure is 1) low and 2) counting.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 6, 2009 6:52 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?

Critics Faves: Arty or Artful?
In the fall season, as hundreds of movies are launched and weighed at film festivals, critics come into their own. They don't hold much sway with audiences in the summer. But in the fall, suddenly, what they think does matter.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 8:58 AM
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  • 12 Comments

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut
I am happy to announce the debut of a weekly Friday kudo-podcast with In Contention's Kris Tapley. Here's the first Oscar Talk. We discuss the awards hopefuls so far and likely contenders coming out of upcoming fests; Meryl Streep’s remarkable emergence as a 60-year-old movie star; how the ten best picture slots could effect the Oscar race; new indie distribs Overture, Summit and Apparition; changing trends in Oscar campaigns; Paramount pushing Shutter Island to 2010; how Avatar Day went; and a Toronto preview.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 6:22 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Empire Covers Avatar

The last wide-circulation English-language movie magazine standing is published in the UK: Empire. So that's where you go for your early Avatar cover story .
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 6:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Trailer Mash: Downfall Keeps on Giving

The scene where Hitler berates his officers in Downfall is the gift that keeps on giving. Here's the latest in a series of alternate subtitles to accompany Bruno Ganz's climactic tirade. The latest object of Hitler's wrath: the bad reaction to James Cameron's Avatar trailer:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 5:33 AM
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  • 1 Comment

John Carter of Mars Adds Morton, Walker, West

I was brought up in Manhattan by a single Dad. His best pal Jerry Rubenstein's idea of a birthday present for an eight-year-old, girl or boy, was Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I scarfed it up and read every single book ever written by Burroughs, especially his Barsoom Martian novels. I read The Chessmen of Mars over and over. Burroughs took you into an exotic world, much as Burroughs fan James Cameron does in Avatar, or Wall-E writer-director Andrew Stanton will do in his first live-action feature, a film take on John Carter of Mars. In both stories, an American visits a faraway planet inhabited by strange creatures. In John Carter of Mars, co-written by Mark Andrews, Civil War hero John Carter is transported to the red planet Barsoom, where he must adapt, and meets a princess.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2009 6:48 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Avatar Day

James Cameron himself wasn't happy that the Avatar online trailer preceded the Avatar Day IMAX 3-D screenings on Friday. The reason that happened, according to Fox, is that the trailer went out at the same time as the first 10 AM screenings in New Zealand Tokyo on the other side of the world. It was a synchronous global release. The Apple site was so overwhelmed with clicks that it crashed at first. More than 4 million people streamed the Avatar trailer on that first day, breaking the prior record of 1.7 million set by Star Trek. So that was good news for Fox. Curiosity was high.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 22, 2009 6:40 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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