People Find New Way to Rag on AVATAR; Film Reportedly Cost Over a Half-Billion Dollars

by     Posted 4 years, 265 days ago

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It looks like James Cameron’s Avatar is being setup to fail by every metric possible except the one that counts: “Is it a good movie?”  Set up for a fall by unreasonable expectations brought on by intense secrecy, Avatar has already been derided for lackluster CG (even though Cameron said at Comic-Con that it was Gollum back in 2002 which confirmed that Avatar was possible) and a New York Times piece which applauded Cameron as a craftsman but one completely oblivious to the needs of actors or a rich story.

Now another damaging story has appeared in the NY Times, this time reporting that the cost of production and marketing for Avatar, spread out over multiple investors, is $500 million dollars.  Hit the jump for details and remember that you’ve decided to be disappointed no matter what.

Avatar Movie image Navi.jpgThe New York Times reports on the details of the financial transactions involved and it’s pretty fascinating stuff.  However, I’m more interested in how Avatar is being set up to be disappointing no matter how good the film may be.  Because folks now know that the film cost $500 million, they expect a $500 million film.  So unless Avatar pays their mortgages, it can’t succeed.  Furthermore, negative reaction to the film will only be amplified by seven simple words: “They paid five-hundred million dollars for that?”

Except as the Times says, this isn’t a Heaven’s Gate-type setup where Fox will go bankrupt if the film doesn’t cross $250 million to put the film in the black.  In fact, Fox won’t go bankrupt no matter what the film makes and while the studio obviously would prefer a hit to a flop, it’s more a matter of prestige.  And if that’s what it’s all about, then I don’t understand why folks are judging it based on CG removed from the story and how much it cost to make when almost all movies make back their money from worldwide distribution and DVD/Blu-ray/Internet sales.

Why can’t it just be rated on whether or not it’s a fun adventure story?  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was, based on the quality of the narrative and in terms of differentiating the CG of different robots, a failure.  But the film was always going to rake in a shitload of cash because it’s Transformers so it could cost whatever it wanted with almost no risk.  Avatar has a much tougher go of it and the grand irony is that even if it’s a better movie in terms of quality, it will be perceived as a failure because of its box office take.  It has serious competition its following weekend with the double-threat of Sherlock Holmes and Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakuel.  I’m not saying that Avatar is going to be a great movie (although I think it looks like a fun adventure story), but I find it a bit ironic that unless film pulls in Titanic-level box office, it will be perceived as a bigger failure than Transformers 2 even if Avatar is the better movie.




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  • JoJo

    It is obvious the media is going to do anything to make sure this is considered a boxoffice flop. They just love to shit on things. It is funny how almost each and every website has picked up this and is saying exactly what you are saying i.e. if it doesn’t do 1 billion worldwide it will be a flop.

    Too bad they didn’t read the entire article. They just read the $500 Million

    Anyways personally this article in NYT is unprofessional and has tons of loop holes. It was done just to get more hits on their site.

  • JoJo

    It is obvious the media is going to do anything to make sure this is considered a boxoffice flop. They just love to shit on things. It is funny how almost each and every website has picked up this and is saying exactly what you are saying i.e. if it doesn’t do 1 billion worldwide it will be a flop.

    Too bad they didn’t read the entire article. They just read the $500 Million

    Anyways personally this article in NYT is unprofessional and has tons of loop holes. It was done just to get more hits on their site.

  • Jordan

    I’m getting tired of everyone bashing a movie they haven’t seen yet. I can imagine if the internet was around back when Star Wars came out everyone would have found reasons to complain about that and we wouldn’t have 6 movie saga. I’m sure there’s a story in the CGI but most people will over look it and say Paranormal Activity or Date Movie was better.

  • Jordan

    I’m getting tired of everyone bashing a movie they haven’t seen yet. I can imagine if the internet was around back when Star Wars came out everyone would have found reasons to complain about that and we wouldn’t have 6 movie saga. I’m sure there’s a story in the CGI but most people will over look it and say Paranormal Activity or Date Movie was better.

  • Branden

    What people dont realize is that… The money gone into this is not JUST for Avatar, it’s for films down the line. As we all know, Avatar is using equipment that has been invented FOR this film, but after the film is made, they’re going use it for numerous films down the line.

  • Branden

    What people dont realize is that… The money gone into this is not JUST for Avatar, it’s for films down the line. As we all know, Avatar is using equipment that has been invented FOR this film, but after the film is made, they’re going use it for numerous films down the line.

  • aaronsullivan

    Cameron has always partly excused the costs of his movies for how much tech they contribute to the entire craft. Whether it’s underwater equipment from the Abyss, CG from T2 (and other things) and now 3D + modern digital performance capture, the money isn’t always on the screen, but sometimes pumps into the entire industry.

    He can’t always revolutionize the industry but I’ll give him a partial pass because of this. Plus, I tend to love his movies which makes it REAL easy not to care how much money they took to make. In the end, I just want to love the movie. :)

  • aaronsullivan

    Cameron has always partly excused the costs of his movies for how much tech they contribute to the entire craft. Whether it’s underwater equipment from the Abyss, CG from T2 (and other things) and now 3D + modern digital performance capture, the money isn’t always on the screen, but sometimes pumps into the entire industry.

    He can’t always revolutionize the industry but I’ll give him a partial pass because of this. Plus, I tend to love his movies which makes it REAL easy not to care how much money they took to make. In the end, I just want to love the movie. :)

  • aaronsullivan

    So… how did I manage a cross post 2 hours apart. :-/

    Anyway, Avatar LOOKS fun to me. My four year old daughter says “that’s a cool one” when she saw the trailer. She won’t be able to see it for awhile, but she has good taste.

  • aaronsullivan

    So… how did I manage a cross post 2 hours apart. :-/

    Anyway, Avatar LOOKS fun to me. My four year old daughter says “that’s a cool one” when she saw the trailer. She won’t be able to see it for awhile, but she has good taste.

  • sid

    The one thing that i feel is a section of online websites really enjoy bashing every film maker. It seems to me we have such guys on the web such as collider who rate and grade a hit and a flop. Why dont you turn out to be film makers. It is quite certain that there is an anti-Fox feeling and that shouldnt harm this movie.

    I strongly feel that too many websites and small time bloggers are wagely giving opinions. Do you guys even understand the S of Script and the F of finance. Both the F & S are most vital elements in any film industry.

    If Wolverine were made by Warner Bros. you guys would give it a 2 thumbs up. Why is Fox being isolated and targeted just because its a co from Australia.

    Avatar will recover all its money for its technological advancement over and above also for the fact that today the entire world is watching movies and if a section of over smart bloggers and website believe they can make an organization shut down you need to remember the fate of Ice Age-3. Not a hit in the US but one of the highest grossing animated film yet .

    Avatar will be successful no matter what.

  • sid

    The one thing that i feel is a section of online websites really enjoy bashing every film maker. It seems to me we have such guys on the web such as collider who rate and grade a hit and a flop. Why dont you turn out to be film makers. It is quite certain that there is an anti-Fox feeling and that shouldnt harm this movie.

    I strongly feel that too many websites and small time bloggers are wagely giving opinions. Do you guys even understand the S of Script and the F of finance. Both the F & S are most vital elements in any film industry.

    If Wolverine were made by Warner Bros. you guys would give it a 2 thumbs up. Why is Fox being isolated and targeted just because its a co from Australia.

    Avatar will recover all its money for its technological advancement over and above also for the fact that today the entire world is watching movies and if a section of over smart bloggers and website believe they can make an organization shut down you need to remember the fate of Ice Age-3. Not a hit in the US but one of the highest grossing animated film yet .

    Avatar will be successful no matter what.

  • joe

    Well I fell guaranteed that this movie will make it’s money back but will also have rely heavily on the mouth publicity too like Titanic did. Then only I think this movie will be able to make it’s money back as far as I see that will happen because it’s James Cameron’ movie no matter what people will say now they will change their opinion once they see the movie in 3d imax that for sure.

  • joe

    Well I fell guaranteed that this movie will make it’s money back but will also have rely heavily on the mouth publicity too like Titanic did. Then only I think this movie will be able to make it’s money back as far as I see that will happen because it’s James Cameron’ movie no matter what people will say now they will change their opinion once they see the movie in 3d imax that for sure.

  • Rant

    500 million, yeah a bunch of money, but I remember mag. story in Radar I think, that went in detail of Spider-Man 3 running up 1 billion in production and marketing costs.

  • Rant

    500 million, yeah a bunch of money, but I remember mag. story in Radar I think, that went in detail of Spider-Man 3 running up 1 billion in production and marketing costs.

  • Ammoninja

    The media was tearing apart titanic before it came out too and for the same reasons. If I remember correctly it had a somewhat slow start because of it too. Cameron’s track record for good movies is pretty stellar. It looks awesome and epic. I am really looking forward to seeing it.

  • Ammoninja

    The media was tearing apart titanic before it came out too and for the same reasons. If I remember correctly it had a somewhat slow start because of it too. Cameron’s track record for good movies is pretty stellar. It looks awesome and epic. I am really looking forward to seeing it.

  • Nicholas Otero

    I am looking foword to this film. James Cameron has never let us down before. Execpt for Rambo 2. But all his films after that, Terminator 1 and 2, aliens, the abyuss, true lies, and titanic have proved he is one of
    the best directors ever. This film is no dougt a romontic sicence fiction film. Which souds bad, but just like titanic will definty be incredable. But the question is will it be like titanic at the box office, or waterworld?

  • Nicholas Otero

    I am looking foword to this film. James Cameron has never let us down before. Execpt for Rambo 2. But all his films after that, Terminator 1 and 2, aliens, the abyuss, true lies, and titanic have proved he is one of
    the best directors ever. This film is no dougt a romontic sicence fiction film. Which souds bad, but just like titanic will definty be incredable. But the question is will it be like titanic at the box office, or waterworld?

  • solomon

    okay who wrote this article? that is bull SHIT here is what you say
    “They paid five-hundred million dollars for that?” you little fucklet this is the best movie i have ever seen and i am really picky or is it that you like preppy bull shit like *the note book* “one of the worst movies ever” lol that i know it is true but the movie avatar
    you are just scared of all the nature in the film and that last part “and they were sent back to there dying world” just you watch this movie will be one of the biggest hits the world has ever seen. the movie avatar is so insane how wen you leave the theater it feels like the world you are in is not real.

  • solomon

    okay who wrote this article? that is bull SHIT here is what you say
    “They paid five-hundred million dollars for that?” you little fucklet this is the best movie i have ever seen and i am really picky or is it that you like preppy bull shit like *the note book* “one of the worst movies ever” lol that i know it is true but the movie avatar
    you are just scared of all the nature in the film and that last part “and they were sent back to there dying world” just you watch this movie will be one of the biggest hits the world has ever seen. the movie avatar is so insane how wen you leave the theater it feels like the world you are in is not real.

  • sswam

    Yeah, you have to laugh at people who predicted this would flop, it is well on its way to 1 billion in just a few weeks. Absolutely awesome, brilliant movie.

  • sswam

    Yeah, you have to laugh at people who predicted this would flop, it is well on its way to 1 billion in just a few weeks. Absolutely awesome, brilliant movie.

  • sswam

    Yeah, you have to laugh at people who predicted this would flop, it is well on its way to 1 billion in just a few weeks. Absolutely awesome, brilliant movie.

  • Chris

    Wow did you get this one wrong or what!

  • Chris

    Wow did you get this one wrong or what!

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