I was probably one of the latest people to see Avatar. I finally saw it a couple weeks ago. It was one of those things I had to do. Imax 3D of course. Let's get something out of the way. Avatar is visually stunning. It's really well created. The 3D is unlike anything anyone has ever seen on screen before (except maybe Captain EO at Disney). The other thing is the story line is nothing new. You don't go to see Avatar for an amazing story. So all that said, why bother seeing Avatar?

Movies are basic financial investments. Every major studio takes on movies based on their ROI - Return On Investment. No major studio will willingly take on a terrible movie without the intent of making their bottom line. Sure 'Snakes on a Plane' and 'Deep Blue Sea' were terrible movies, but they made money. (Deep Blue Sea made $91 million worldwide and roughly cost $78 million to make - a $13 million profit for the studios... not bad for a crappy movie). What if you take a major name like James Cameron, brand new technology and major Titanic/nerd/geek movie hype and put it into one movie? Not only that, but build it up for years and release a tiny poster and teaser to keep the buzz going? I think that easily spells major win for the studio. Stay average with the script and over deliver in the appearance and you have a major winner. You have a multi-billion dollar winner! (Not to mention the rising price in box office tickets, including the higher cost of watching movies in 3D)

I have a tough time with Avatar. If it was about movie making, it would have some sort of historical significance in films. It won't. The only thing people will remember about it is that it made oodles of money. People won't remember the Hans Solo of that movie... in fact I don't even remember any names of the characters of Avatar. It was a basic money grab. The ROI was bound to be high. Fox knew it would make up for every other terrible movie they put out this year. Avatar is a targeted movie for the masses, it's aim was to visually stun people and open their wallets. It worked.

Still don't believe me? Avatar hit the big screen on December 18th 2009 and is hitting the shelves on DVD/Blu-Ray April 22nd 2010. That's 4 months between theatre release and DVD release. Now think about the production of those DVD's/Blu-Rays. They would need to be in production of those discs by January at the latest. Millions of copies - special editions, packaging, extra features on the discs etc. I wouldn't doubt if they had the DVD's completed before they even released to theatres. That's crazy! Get quick box office sales and keep the hype going with even quicker DVD sales. They want your money.

It's a sad truth and it makes sense, but most movies are about the mighty dollar. You don't see people lining up to see the indy movies, the ones made for the sake of good art AND a good story. You don't see people lining up for them until someone they know stars in them (aka Little Miss Sunshine). The rare time you get an indy gem that everyone wants to see (aka Napoleon Dynamite). Movie studios want your money. I wish there was an alternative, but I'm not sure what it is.

That's my two cents. What do you have to say about Avatar? Matthew A. Hawkins

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