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James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ To Rock A $300 Million Budget; The Future Of Movies Is At Our Doors
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Avatar

UPDATE: Time made a woopsie and have corrected their article. It now states that the movie is “…in excess of $200 Million.” This means the budget is likely still in the $250 Million range it was looking at originally, and it makes this who news bit not so exciting. The future of 3-D still looks fun, though, so there’s that.

Time Magazine ran a story looking at the future of 3-D film making with insight from DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, as well as the man working to make 3-D the primary method of movie making, James Cameron. They covered Cameron’s re-working of his own blockbuster, Titanic, in 3-D (with word about how unbelievable it looks); they talk about getting the style past the novelty that it has always been to the adventure into another world that 3-D always promised to be; and they even talk about the belief that one day, everyone will own their own pair of 3-D glasses that they will take with them to the movies.

What really stands out in this look at the future of 3-D, is the stuff about Cameron’s Avatar. The movie is expected to revolutionize film making and the movie-going experience alike — a promise that 3-D has touted on many occasions. Steven Spielberg himself predicts the movie will be the biggest live-action 3-D film EVER. With expectations like this, you wouldn’t be shocked at the likely massive budget, but alas, another surprise! Mentioned in the article is the apparent $300 Million budget of the film.

At last word, Avatar was supposedly costing around $250 Million — a very large price tag to have, but not really abnormal these days at all. If the movie is actually now past the $300 Million budget mark, it would far surpass anything we’ve seen. Currently, the biggest budget on any movie was the $258 Million budget that Spider-Man 3 has, so this would jump $42 Million past that! Just to put this number into perspective, only 29 movies in the history of the box office have ever even MADE $300 Million or more domestically, let alone actually costing that much to make.

If you haven’t clicked over to Time to read the whole piece, here’s the stuff on Avatar.

Cameron’s Avatar, due in December, could be the thing that forces theaters to convert to digital. Spielberg predicts it will be the biggest 3-D live-action film ever. More than a thousand people have worked on it, at a cost in excess of $300 million, and it represents digital filmmaking’s bleeding edge. Cameron wrote the treatment for it in 1995 as a way to push his digital-production company to its limits. (“We can’t do this,” he recalled his crew saying. “We’ll die.”) He worked for years to build the tools he needed to realize his vision. The movie pioneers two unrelated technologies–e-motion capture, which uses images from tiny cameras rigged to actors’ heads to replicate their expressions, and digital 3-D.

Avatar is filmed in the old “Spruce Goose” hangar, the 16,000-sq.-ft. space where Howard Hughes built his wooden airplane. The film is set in the future, and most of the action takes place on a mythical planet, Pandora. The actors work in an empty studio; Pandora’s lush jungle-aquatic environment is computer-generated in New Zealand by Jackson’s special-effects company, Weta Digital, and added later.

I couldn’t tell what was real and what was animated–even knowing that the 9-ft.-tall blue, dappled dude couldn’t possibly be real. The scenes were so startling and absorbing that the following morning, I had the peculiar sensation of wanting to return there, as if Pandora were real.

Very interesting read. If you have time, I recommend checking out the whole story.

Though we’ve always known how big Avatar was looking to be, it now seems like it could quite possibly be one of the most important movies ever made… or one of the biggest box office tragedies of all time.

Avatar is set for a December 18, 2009 release.

[Source: via Filmonic]

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