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Thompson on Hollywood

Cameron's Blue Avatar, Swinton Hauls Movies, Moore Traverses Fest, Ebert's Best Movies

James Cameron’s new poster for Avatar is an extreme close-up of a blue Nav'i alien from the Planet Pandora. It’s an arresting image that makes you stop and pay attention. Cameron wants you to know he’s taking you somewhere you’ve never been before. Jeff Wells hates this poster. There’s plenty of time between now and December 18 for the Fox marketers to figure out their message. I suspect that one reason they’re showing the 15 minutes in IMAX theaters on August 21 is that they know showing the film is their best approach.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 5, 2009 3:30 AM
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Cameron talks Avatar

Cameron talks Avatar
When I talked to James Cameron at Comic-Con (below), he admitted that he and producer Jon Landau know that they have a lot of heavy lifting to do before the 3D sci-fi epic Avatar hits screens on December 18. 24 minutes of footage played great at the Con, where Cameron announced that Fox will screen 15 minutes in IMAX on August 21 for free on 35 screens around the country. But the VFX-packed fantasy lacks major stars and is not based on anything (god forbid, it's an original), so the movie will need a major marketing push from Fox. Which is what the Con was all about.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 2:58 AM
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Comic-Con: Visionaries Jackson, Cameron Talk Future

By far the high point of the Con for me was EW editor Jeff Giles' interview with Peter Jackson and James Cameron. The two men respect each other enormously. Weta's achievement with The Lord of the Rings' Gollum convinced Cameron that he might be able to forge ahead with Avatar, which had been collecting dust for more than a decade.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 26, 2009 5:23 AM
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SDCC Interview: Cameron Talks Avatar

Here's my Comic-Con interview with James Cameron about how his undersea expeditions informed his return to moviemaking, Avatar. He digs into how he perfected the art of performance capture to allow the warmth of his actors to come through. He wants to do some consciousness-raising with SAG on what performance capture really involves. During Friday's panel with Cameron and Peter Jackson, the two men discussed how resistant actors have been to such acting as Andy Serkis as Gollum.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2009 5:45 AM
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Comic-Con: Cameron Wows with Avatar

Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman came down to San Diego to intro James Cameron, who in turn presented 24 minutes of footage from Avatar. The studio has backed Cameron's R & D for the dozen years since Titanic. After earning credibility with the deep sea documentary world with a series of 3D docs, Cameron finally opted to chase the promise of advanced 3-D motion-capture with an original story that had been sitting in his drawer for 14 years. But no matter how fabulous this movie looks--and it wowed Hall H, the perfect target audience for a sci-fi adventure--Fox has to market this movie without major stars, branding and the kind of wide release a blockbuster usually commands. That's why they're showing 15 minutes of footage, free, on Avatar Day on August 21 on 35 IMAX theaters around the world.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2009 3:11 AM
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#SDCC Comic-Con Separates Top Draws Avatar and Twilight: New Moon

Last year, I remember a few diehard fanboys mocking me when I flagged Twilight as a big deal at Comic-Con. The power of Twilight fans became clear as thousands of girls screamed their lungs out for emerging star Rob Pattinson. Helping to avert certain traffic gridlock, Comic-Con organizers pushed apart back-to-back Thursday panels for Twilight: New Moon and James Cameron's Avatar, by far the most anticipated two panels of the Con. Many were concerned that the threatened tsunami of fans surging toward Hall H Thursday morning (many of them female, in this very male-dominated universe) would make it tough to also cover Disney's 11 AM 3-D panel (Zemeckis's A Christmas Carol, Burton's Alice in Wonderland) and James Cameron's Avatar on the same day. Now New Moon is at 1:45 pm and Avatar is at 3:00 pm. Covering media may have a tough time getting into New Moon without some kind of press pass.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 10, 2009 5:59 AM
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Avatar: Cameron's New Frontier

The irony is that while the latest Star Trek invokes the old promise to take you where no man has gone before, the movie itself, while giving you a very good time, takes you back to a familiar and pleasant sci-fi universe, and does so using existing cinematic technology.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 27, 2009 7:28 AM
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Avatar's James Cameron Talks 3D

Variety tech wonk David S. Cohen conducts an in-depth interview with James Cameron about something he knows a little bit about: 3D. An early believer and innovator in the technology that looks to revolutionize the way many movies are made, Cameron expounds at length. (He reveals some tech details on his next 3D effort, the long-awaited Avatar, due in 2009.) Here's a sampling of their email exchange:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 11, 2008 6:05 AM
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