“Avatar” might be the top-grossing theatrical release of all time and a recognized game-changer for Hollywood, but director James Cameron isn’t ready for theaters to pack up those reels just yet. If Cameron and Fox have their way, audiences will have the opportunity to make a return trip to Pandora this fall.
The director revealed in an interview with USA Today that he’s in discussions with the studio about an enhanced re-release of “Avatar” towards the end of the year. The thinking is that the arrival of “Alice in Wonderland” on 3-D screens has resulted in Cameron’s sci-fi epic being “stomped out” of theaters. The ousting of “Avatar” from those screens “probably left a couple of hundred million dollars on the table,” according to what Cameron’s heard from theater owners.
The problem with a re-release is the question of whether or not audiences will be interested in heading back to Pandora after filling up on the summer’s selection of high-concept blockbusters. Cameron and Fox are therefore discussing the possibility of sprucing up the theatrical cut so there’s something fresh to go see. “We’re talking about maybe adding in additional footage and doing something creative,” Cameron said.
We’ve already heard from the director himself that an extended cut of the movie on DVD could contain “15 minutes or so” of additional footage. The extra months between now and the fall would likely give the studio enough time to dust off what was left on the cutting room floor and make it theater-ready.
As for a 3-D home video release of “Avatar,” which Cameron previously told MTV was coming in November, there’s nothing official to say yet. The director, who was in New York to help Samsung show off their new line of 3-D TVs, is still “hoping for fall” with regard to a 3-D Blu-ray release of the film, but a theatrical re-release could get in the way. It might simply make more financial sense to put the movie out in theaters again, since the 3-D TV market penetration by the end of the year will likely still be too small to justify putting money behind a 3-D Blu-ray release.
Of course, if a theatrical re-release is in the works, there’s also no telling how its existence could impact plans for a 2-D home video release. Cameron had previously told The Wall Street Journal that a bare-bones DVD and Blu-ray release would be coming on April 22. Amazon still has no release date listed for the movie, and that April date is subject to change if plans for a theater re-release move forward.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Avatar.”
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