“Avatar” Fans Can Own The Collector’s Edition On DVD And Blu-ray. The three-disc set of “Avatar” is coming out Nov. 16. Fans of the movie and its award-winning visual effects can buy the extended highly anticipated release of “Avatar” Extended Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray and DVD with exclusive collectible packaging and lots of extras.
With three versions of the film on the DVD and fans will get an all-new extended cut of the film and hours of never-before seen material including over 45 minutes of amazing deleted scenes. ’ There’s an extended length cut that’s sixteen minutes longer, plus documentaries, behind the scenes features, artwork and over 45 minutes of deleted scenes. Everything worth putting into a special edition is in this set. The three-disc “Avatar” Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and Theatrical Special Edition Re-Release DVD will both feature the original theatrical release, a special edition re-release, family audio track with all objectionable language removed and the new collector’s extended cut with sixteen more minutes, including an exclusive alternate opening Earth scene. Other bonus features include a journey to the depths of Pandora with filmmakers during “Capturing Avatar,” an in-depth feature length documentary covering the 16-year filmmaker journey with new interviews with James Cameron, Jon Landau and the cast and crew; 45 minutes of deleted scenes; the “Pandora’s Box” feature which delves into the filmmaker process; an interactive scene deconstruction that explores the various stages of production through three different viewing modes; and 17 short features that show how producers scored the film, captured performances, shot in 3D fusion camera and organized stunts. The Oscar and Golden Globe winning epic is the highest grossing film of all time, taking in over $2.7 billion in the worldwide box office.
“Avatar” DVD Sales Surpass 6 Million Units. As if its box office receipts weren’t proof enough of its dominance, the highest-grossing movie of all time is continuing its reign over all things entertainment. Since its April 22 release on DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def, “Avatar” has been setting records once again, but this time on home format. In only its first few days of availability, the James Cameron fantasy film has beaten out the record for Blu-ray sales — previously set at 2.5 million units — by reaching an early total of 2.7 million units sold for the Blu-ray format alone. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment also has announced the combined total for both DVD and Blu-ray sales, which has already shot past 6.7 million units. This makes it the best-selling title in recent history, with still more results yet to be seen. Oscar winner “Avatar,” also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the 82nd Academy Awards, has been transferred to DVD form with full utilization of disc memory for the best possible viewing experience. Besides creating the ultimate in high definition movie-watching, Twentieth Century Fox has filled the DVD with extras, most notably the chance to become attached to fellow viewers through the online bonus “The Avatar Program,” which offers users updates on additional materials to further enhance their enjoyment of the movie. Likewise, “The Home Tree Initiative” gives people the chance to take part in the planting of trees across the planet in the hopes that Earth will begin to look more like the lush alien world Pandora.
James Cameron’s mega successful sci-fi flick “Avatar” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD come April. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is set to release the top grossing film for home viewing audiences worldwide.
On April 22, Earth Day, fans in the U.S. and Canada will be able to revisit and rediscover the magic of the highest grossing film of all time in the comforts of their own homes. Since its theatrical release in December, “Avatar” dominated the box office records, even beating Cameron’s other megahit “Titanic” for the highest grossing film title with $2.6 billion in worldwide box office. The film – starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, and Sigourney Weaver – tells the story of a paraplegic former Marine who, taking over from his twin brother, enters a scientific project that uses an avatar to interact with the humanoid species called Na’vi in the planet Pandora. His mission is to lure the Na’vis away from their home base in order for his fellow humans to mine a precious mineral called unobtanium. But things get complicated when he learns to love the race as his own. “Avatar” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. and Canada on April 22.
The release dates for other countries:
•Apr 21: France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain
•Apr 22: China, Brazil, Russia, North America
•Apr 23: Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Mexico
•Apr 26: U.K.
•Apr 27: Denmark
•Apr 28: Norway, Sweden, New Zealand
•Apr 29: Australia
•Apr 30: Finland
•May 6: Italy
Twilight most downloaded soundtrack . With Oscars fever gripping movie fans ahead of the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7th, research by Nokia into the listening habits of music fans around the world reveals Twilight has dominated the movie soundtrack charts over the last 12 months. Twilight didn’t receive a single nomination for last year’s Oscars ceremony, yet appears three times on the list of the world’s most downloaded movie soundtracks for the last 12 months. Recent release AVATAR, up for nine Oscars in 2010, is in second place.
TOP 10 GLOBALLY DOWNLOADED MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS (2009-10*)
1. Twilight (Original motion picture soundtrack: International Version)
3. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds
4. Mamma Mia!
5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Mexican version)**
6. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
7. Alvin And The Chipmunks 2
8. Slumdog Millionaire
9. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Original motion picture soundtrack)
Slumdog Millionaire swept up a staggering eight golden statuettes at last year’s ceremony – including best original song, original score and sound mixing. If listeners’ current favourites could predict this year’s winners, Avatar, Transformers and Inglorious Basterds look set for a night of victory.
Twilight’s global popularity highlights Comes With Music’s international presence, bringing movie lovers in touch with music across the world.
From James Horner’s mysterious AVATAR score to the thrilling melodies of Sherlock Holmes or the eclectic mix of Nine, check out Nokia’s movie soundtrack selection: http://music.nokia.co.uk/IE/genre.aspx?id=7
If you’re a fan of the music behind the latest movie releases Nokia Comes With Music is the place to download all the music you’ve ever wanted, for free, and to keep forever.
The last time Oscar presenters had to rattle off 10 names in the Best Picture category was in 1943, when “Casablanca” sealed its beautiful friendship with moviegoers. History has proven the Academy Award voters correct in choosing “Casablanca” from a formidable group of contenders that included “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Heaven Can Wait.” On Sunday, we’ll again be treated to scenes from 10 Best Picture hopefuls – a move spurred by last year’s outrage over the snubbing of “The Dark Knight,” a fan and critic favorite that didn’t even make the longtime standard list of five nominees. But with this year’s mix ranging from box office behemoths like “Avatar” to more subtle fare like “An Education,” we’re in for a game of Oscar roulette. There’s a chance that a split vote could yield a top flick that will please just about no one – save, of course, for the winner. While “Casablanca” has done well with posterity, not every pre-1943 winner from fields that raged from five to 12 stands up to subjective scrutiny all these years later. “The Great Ziegfeld” topped nine competitors in 1936, beating the more enduring “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town” and “A Tale of Two Cities.” The next year, “The Life of Emile Zola” somehow bested “Captains Courageous,” “The Awful Truth,” “Lost Horizon,” “A Star is Born” and five others. Perhaps the biggest upset of the long-list nominee era came in 1941 when the very good “How Green Was My Valley” won out over nine films that included “The Maltese Falcon” and “Citizen Kane.” The visually innovative and psychologically aware “Citizen Kane” was an industry game-changer – much like “Avatar,” whose enveloping 3-D performance-capture technology already is exercising an influence. “Avatar,” not incidentally, also is the biggest moneymaker of all-time (though when you adjust for inflation 1939 Best Picture winner “Gone With the Wind” is still the champ). More than just the denizens of Pandora will be blue if “Avatar” loses the top prize. But “The Hurt Locker” and “Precious” are strong contenders, both with themes and backstories that appeal to Oscar voters. If “The Hurt Locker” wins, it would become the first Oscar winner directed by a woman (Kathryn Bigelow). If “Precious” wins, it would be the first Best Picture directed by an African-American (Lee Daniels). There’s also added drama here, the kind Academy voters love: “Avatar” director James Cameron and Bigelow used to be married, also raising the tension for the Best Director contest, which includes Daniels. mWhile those three movies have gotten the most pre-Oscar buzz, it’s possible that this year’s revised ballot – in which Academy voters ranked their favorites in order – could yield a surprise winner. We could live with a victory by the excellent “Up,” “Inglourious Basterds” or “District 9.” The Hollywood honchos are just hoping to avoid a situation like last year when the worthy, but below-the-radar “Slumdog Millionaire” took the Oscar home. The truth is that many viewers probably will shut off the TV in disgust if “Avatar” doesn’t win. So here’s some advice to “Avatar” fans: focus on the years Oscar got it right, such as in 1943 with “Casablanca.” And remember, no matter what happens, we’ll always have Pandora.
“Avatar” has unsurprisingly scooped up awards at the first-ever International 3D Society “Lumiere Awards,” winning the Live action 3D Feature of the Year among six other trophies. Brendan Fraser was also awarded Best 3D Talent for his acting and producing role in “Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D.” The James Cameron box office blockbuster also won Best 3D Stereography – Live Action and Best 3D Character for Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana. Co-star Giovanni Ribisi accepted the awards on behalf of the filmmakers. Fraser was honored for his work as both actor and executive producer of the successful 3D feature film “Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D.”Also honored were Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO, with a 3D Vision Award. The event, presented by the newly formed International 3D Society, was held at the Hollywood’s Mann Chinese Theater Tuesday.
The list of winners:
•Live Action 3D Feature of the Year: “Avatar”
•Animated 3D Feature of the Year: “Up”
•Short 3D Motion Picture/Narrative: “Partly Cloudy”
•Best 3D Documentary: “Under the Sea 3D”
•Outstanding Achievement of 2D to 3D Converted Feature: “G-Force”
•Best 3D Character of the Year: Neytiri from “Avatar”
•Best 3D Scene of the Year: “Avatar” and Jake Sully for “First Flight”
•Best 3D Stereography – Live Action: “Avatar”
•Best 3D Stereography – Animated: “Coraline”
•Outstanding Achievement in 3D Visual Effects: “Avatar”
•Outstanding Achievement for Marketing 3D Content: 20th Century Fox Studios for “Avatar”
People’s Choice Awards tie-up category (announced during the January 6 telecast of the event):
•2010 People’s Choice Award – Favorite 3D Live Action Movie: “Avatar”
•2010 People’s Choice Award – Favorite 3D Animated Movie: “Coraline”
Shutter Island’ opens on top with $41.1 million. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s thriller “Shutter Island” has managed the best weekend debut ever for both the director and star, opening with $41.1 million. The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Hollywood.com are:
1. “Shutter Island,” Paramount, $41,062,440, 2,991 locations, $13,729 average, $41,062,440, one week.
2. “Valentine’s Day,” Warner Bros., $16,665,299, 3,665 locations, $4,547 average, $86,927,385, two weeks.
3. “Avatar,” Fox, $16,240,857, 2,581 locations, $6,292 average, $687,962,011, 10 weeks.
4. “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” Fox, $15,254,421, 3,396 locations, $4,492 average, $58,714,813, two weeks.
5. “The Wolfman,” Universal, $9,895,105, 3,223 locations, $3,070 average, $50,363,730, two weeks.
6. “Dear John,” Sony Screen Gems, $7,130,552, 3,062 locations, $2,329 average, $65,801,765, three weeks.
7. “The Tooth Fairy,” Fox, $4,354,280, 2,523 locations, $1,726 average, $49,721,400, five weeks.
8. “Crazy Heart,” Fox Searchlight, $2,964,586, 1,089 locations, $2,722 average, $21,524,784, 10 weeks.
9. “From Paris With Love,” Lionsgate, $2,661,829, 2,311 locations, $1,152 average, $21,361,504, three weeks.
10. “Edge of Darkness,” Warner Bros., $2,243,311, 2,118 locations, $1,059 average, $40,347,222, four weeks.
11. “The Book of Eli,” Warner Bros., $1,888,305, 1,455 locations, $1,298 average, $90,775,391, six weeks.
12. “When in Rome,” Disney, $1,737,917, 1,627 locations, $1,068 average, $29,344,987, four weeks.
13. “The Blind Side,” Warner Bros., $1,451,100, 1,060 locations, $1,369 average, $247,071,052, 14 weeks.
14. “Up in the Air,” Paramount, $1,052,036, 727 locations, $1,447 average, $80,908,880, 12 weeks.
15. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” Fox, $935,085, 841 locations, $1,112 average, $215,581,073, nine weeks.
16. “Sherlock Holmes,” Warner Bros., $846,490, 713 locations, $1,187 average, $205,534,198, nine weeks.
17. “My Name Is Khan,” Fox Searchlight, $700,885, 125 locations, $5,607 average, $3,253,168, two weeks.
18. “It’s Complicated,” Universal, $699,510, 598 locations, $1,170 average, $110,724,780, nine weeks.
19. “Legion,” Sony Screen Gems, $625,408, 786 locations, $796 average, $39,221,554, five weeks.
20. “The Last Station,” Sony Pictures Classics, $558,214, 109 locations, $5,121 average, $2,162,370, six weeks
“Avatar” is on the cusp of toppling the domestic box-office record after leading all movies for a seventh straight week. James Cameron’s 3-D epic earned $30 million over the weekend, and its domestic total reached $594.5 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. That puts the film only about $6 million behind the domestic record set by Cameron’s “Titanic” in 1998 with $600.8 million. Earlier this week, the 20th Century Fox blockbuster passed “Titanic” for the worldwide box-office record. It has now crossed the $2 billion worldwide mark with $2.039 billion, easily beating the $1.8 billion made by “Titanic.” “You have to do a double take when you see these numbers,” said Paul, Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com, marveling that “Avatar” decreased only 14 percent from the previous weekend. “James Cameron is the king of the box office hold.”
So close to the domestic box-office record, “Avatar” could pass “Titanic,” interestingly enough, on Tuesday — when Oscar nominations are announced. The film is expected to be nominated for best picture, as well as numerous other categories. Those nominations could mean an Oscar bump for “Avatar,” further propelling its gross. Whereas the sustained box-office performance of “Titanic” has typically been attributed to teenage girls seeing the film repeatedly, the demographics for “Avatar” are less clear. One draw for repeat business is surely the 3-D visual effects. “It’s everybody going repeatedly,” said Dergarabedian. “At first it was more of a fanboy experience, and then the word got out.” Analysts believe the lengthy run from “Avatar” is likely hurting the business of other films.Mel Gibson’s revenge-thriller “Edge of Darkness,” debuted this weekend with $17.1 million for Warner Bros., a respectable if slightly low total. Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros., called it a “solid opening.” “On a normal weekend, we probably would have had the number one film,” said Fellman, shrugging at the out-of-this-world competition from “Avatar.” “Edge of Darkness” had been widely seen as a test to whether Gibson can return to headlining a film, after eight years and damage to his image. The last movie he starred in was “Signs” in 2002. Four years later, he made anti-Semitic remarks during a drunken-driving arrest. But “Darkness” has received mostly good reviews. Fellman said the studio’s data showed approximately 70 percent of those seeing the film said they came to see Gibson. “It certainly marks an interesting return for Mel Gibson,” said Fellman. “When this film plays out, I think his star will shine a little brighter.”
Also in its first weekend of release was “When in Rome,” the Walt Disney romantic comedy starring Kristen Bell. It took in $12.1 million.
Many films will hope for a box-office boost from the Academy Awards after nominations are announced Tuesday morning. The Oscar effect, though, may be slightly different this year, since the academy has expanded best picture nominees from five to ten.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “Avatar,” $30 million.
2. “Edge of Darkness,” $17.1 million.
3. “When in Rome,” $12.1 million.
4. “The Tooth Fairy,” $10 million.
5. “The Book of Eli,” $8.8 million.
6. “Legion,” $6.8 million.
7. “The Lovely Bones,” $4.7 million.
8. “Sherlock Holmes,” $4.5 million.
9. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” $4 million.
10. “It’s Complicated,” $3.7 million.
Looks as if we might have an especially interesting Oscar ceremony and telecast on the horizon this year. For several reasons. For openers, in the interest of boosting sagging TV ratings, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is trying an experiment: there will be ten, as opposed to the traditional five, Best Picture candidates. Although detractors worry that this might diminish the prestige of the slate of Oscar nominees somewhat, proponents of the move feel that it is likely to pump up widespread rooting interest by including a few commercially successful titles among the chosen (not-as-) few that would otherwise have been left out. This is actually a return to a practice from the very earliest days of the Academy Awards, but is an experiment that could end up being a one-time event. However, with the runaway success of Avatar, there is every reason to believe that audience interest will be high, as it was when the box-office juggernaut Titanic dominated the event over a decade ago. And with the unusual wrinkle of the hosting being handled by two Hollywood notables — Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, currently co-starring with Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated — nobody should be shrugging and muttering “same-old-same-old” on Oscar night. With awards season well underway and a number of titles and performers already boasting prizes, with the Academy’s voting deadline fast approaching, and with the way that the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice winners have predicted the Academy Award winners and established front-runners in recent years, the Oscar picture begins to get clearer. Here are the titles and performers to keep an eye on as we approach the televised March 7th Academy Award ceremony, the 82nd Oscar night, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Look for that group of ten Best Picture nominees to include such titles as Avatar, Up in the Air, Precious, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Up, District 9, Star Trek, An Education, and The Messenger. And look for Golden Globe winner Avatar and Critics’ Choice winner The Hurt Locker to duke it out for the top prize. Best Director honors could go to James Cameron for Avatar or Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. They are, interestingly and deliciously enough, ex-spouses, and have split the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice awards. But don’t completely count out Jason Reitman for Up in the Air, Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds, Clint Eastwood for Invictus, or Lee Daniels for Precious. The campaign for Best Actor appears to be a race between Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart and George Clooney for Up in the Air, with the former having claimed both the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice prizes. But don’t rule out Matt Damon for The Informant!, Morgan Freeman for Invictus, Colin Firth for A Single Man, Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker, Tobey Maguire for Brothers, or Ben Foster for The Messenger. Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia and Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side should be in the running for the Best Actress prize, both having been honored with awards already. But Gabourey Sidibe for Precious, Emily Blunt for The Young Victoria, Carey Mulligan for An Education, Abbie Cornish for Bright Star, Helen Mirren for The Last Station, and Penelope Cruz for Broken Embraces are also getting their share of attention from voters. Best Supporting Actress shapes up to be a competition that will include Mo’Nique for Precious and Vera Formiga and/or Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air. Mo’Nique, with the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice award, is certainly the front-runner. But there are also Samantha Mortion for The Messenger, Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart, Marion Cotillard and/or Judi Dench for Nine, Julianne Moore for A Single Man, and Melanie Laurent for Inglourious Basterds. And the slate of candidates for the Best Supporting Actor statuette will undoubtedly include Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds because he has already collected the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice prizes. But Woody Harrelson for The Messenger, Alfred Molina and/or Peter Sarsgaard for An Education, Christina McKay for Me and Orson Welles, and Stanley Tucci for Julie & Julia could be in the mix. Oh, nearly forgot: remember, it’s not really a competition; the honor is just being nominated.
James Cameron carried home two Golden Globes on Sunday night for his 3-D blockbuster, “Avatar.” “Avatar,” which has sold $1.6 billion in tickets worldwide in just a month, was chosen best movie drama, while Cameron won for best movie director. “We have the best job in the world,” Cameron said. Many of the winners and presenters at the 67th Golden Globes wore red and yellow ribbons, a reminder of Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. “It does feel strange to dress up and play fantasy, but I’m glad we are talking about it,” actress Kyra Sedgwick told our source on the red carpet. Globe producers included several appeals in the awards broadcast for viewers to donate to Haitian relief efforts. As “Crazy Heart” star Jeff Bridges accepted the best actor in a movie drama award — the first Golden Globe of his career — he joked about his lack of awards. “Wow, you’re really screwing up my under-appreciated status here,” Bridges said. The best actress in a movie drama went to Sandra Bullock for her work in “The Blind Side.” Robert Downey Jr. won the Globe for best actor in a movie comedy or musical for his role in “Sherlock Holmes.” Downey joked that he didn’t have an acceptance speech because his wife told him Matt Damon would win the category for “The Informant!” “The Hangover,” a comedy about misadventures in Las Vegas, won the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical movie. Former boxing champ Mike Tyson, who played himself in the film, stood onstage as a movie director Todd Phillips accepted the award. Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a movie for “Inglourious Basterds.” The role of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa — the villain in Quentin Tarantino’s film — required Waltz to speak four languages fluently. The Golden Globe for best TV drama was awarded to AMC’s “Mad Men” for the third straight year. Alec Baldwin repeated his Emmy success at the Globes, winning the best actor in a TV comedy or musical series award. Meryl Streep took home her seventh Golden Globe, one for best actress in a comedy or musical movie, for “Julie & Julia.” Streep, referring to last week’s earthquake in Haiti, said it was hard for her to put on her “happy movie self, in face of everything I am aware of in the real world.” Streep had two chances to win the category, because she was also nominated for “It’s Complicated.” Kevin Bacon won the Golden Globe for best actor in a made-for-TV miniseries or movie for his acting in HBO’s “Taking Chance.” It was his first Globe. The Globe for best actress in a made-for-TV miniseries or movie went to Drew Barrymore for HBO’s “Gray Gardens.” It was her first Globe win after three nominations. Chloe Sevigny, who plays the second wife in HBO’s “Big Love,” took the best supporting actress Globe for a made-for-TV miniseries or movie. “Up in the Air,” which was up for Globes in six categories, won the best screenplay award. Showtime’s “Dexter” grabbed Golden Globes for best actor — Michael C. Hall — and best supporting actor — John Lithgow — in a TV series, miniseries or movie. The best actress in a TV drama series went to Julianna Margulies for her work in “The Good Wife” on CBS. Comedian Mo’Nique won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress in a movie for her role as an abusive mother in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” “I’m shaking when I tell y’all I’m in the midst of my dream,” Mo’Nique said. Toni Collette won the best actress in a TV comedy or musical TV series for Showtime’s “United States of Tara.” It was Collette’s first Globe win, though she has been nominated four times. The Disney-Pixar blockbuster “Up” won the Golden Globe for best animated movie. Pixar has won the category every year since it was started four years ago. “Up” was also honored for best original movie score, which was composed by Michael Giacchino. The award for best original song for a movie went to T Bone Burnett’s “The Weary Kind,” the theme for “Crazy Heart.” The Golden Globe for best foreign language film was given to Germany’s “The White Ribbon.” Film legend Sophia Loren presented the award. On the red carpet, the earthquake in Haiti and rain over Los Angeles dampened the Golden Globes Sunday evening. Dresses were as glamorous as ever, but the talk was less about the competition and more about the relief efforts under way in Haiti. “It does feel strange to dress up and play fantasy, but I’m glad we are talking about it,” said Kyra Sedgwick, nominated for a fifth time as best actress in a TV drama for “The Closer.” British comic Ricky Gervais, who is hosting the 67th Golden Globes show, said “someone much more important than me” will address the Haiti tragedy during the NBC telecast. Actress Olivia Wilde, who was already involved in supporting an orphanage and three schools in Haiti, said her Golden Globe dress and several others will be auctioned off with “100 percent of the money going to a local program in Haiti.” “It’s my way of turning all this fashion madness into something positive,” Wilde said. George Clooney, up for a best actor award for his film “Up in the Air,” will host a telethon on Friday to raise money for the devastated island nation. “Up in the Air” has six Golden Globe nominated, the most of any other movie. The Golden Globes, produced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is the opening act in the 2010 awards season. Umbrellas were out as a rare rain fell Sunday evening. The first section of the red carpet leading into the Beverly Hilton Hotel was not covered.
Avatar: It’s no secret that “Avatar” has been stunningly successful on nearly every front. The James Cameron-directed sci-fi epic is already the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, having earned more than $1 billion around the globe in less than three weeks of theatrical release. The film also has garnered effusive praise from critics, who’ve been planting its flag on a variety of critics Top 10 lists (it has earned an impressive 83 score on Rotten Tomatoes). The 3-D trip to Pandora is also viewed as a veritable shoo-in for a best picture Oscar nomination when the academy announces its nominees on Feb. 2. But amid this avalanche of praise and popularity, guess who hates the movie? America’s prickly cadre of political conservatives. For years, pundits and bloggers on the right have ceaselessly attacked liberal Hollywood for being out of touch with rank and file moviegoers, complaining that executives and filmmakers continue to make films that have precious little resonance with Middle America. They have reacted with scorn to such high-profile liberal political advocacy films as “Syriana,” “Milk,” “W.,” “Religulous,” “Lions for Lambs,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “In the Valley of Elah,” “Rendition” and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” saying that the movies’ poor performance at the box office was a clear sign of how thoroughly uninterested real people were in the pet causes of showbiz progressives. Of course, “Avatar” totally turns this theory on its head. As a host of critics have noted, the film offers a blatantly pro-environmental message; it portrays U.S. military contractors in a decidedly negative light; and it clearly evokes the can’t-we-all-get along vibe of the 1960s counterculture. These are all messages guaranteed to alienate everyday moviegoers, so say the right-wing pundits — and yet the film has been wholeheartedly embraced by audiences everywhere, from Mississippi to Manhattan. To say that the film has evoked a storm of ire on the right would be an understatement. Big Hollywood’s John Nolte, one of my favorite outspoken right-wing film essayists, blasted the film, calling it “a sanctimonious thud of a movie so infested with one-dimensional characters and PC cliches that not a single plot turn, large or small, surprises…. Think of ‘Avatar’ as ‘Death Wish’ for leftists, a simplistic, revisionist revenge fantasy where if you freakin’ hate the bad guys (America) you’re able to forgive the by-the-numbers predictability of it all.”
John Podhoretz, the Weekly Standard’s film critic, called the film “blitheringly stupid; indeed, it’s among the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen.” He goes on to say: “You’re going to hear a lot over the next couple of weeks about the movie’s politics — about how it’s a Green epic about despoiling the environment, and an attack on the war in Iraq…. The conclusion does ask the audience to root for the defeat of American soldiers at the hands of an insurgency. So it is a deep expression of anti-Americanism — kind of. The thing is, one would be giving Jim Cameron too much credit to take ‘Avatar’ — with its … hatred of the military and American institutions and the notion that to be human is just way uncool — at all seriously as a political document. It’s more interesting as an example of how deeply rooted these standard issue counterculture cliches in Hollywood have become by now.”
Ross Douthat, writing in the New York Times, took Cameron to task on another favorite conservative front, as yet another Hollywood filmmaker who refuses to acknowledge the power of religion. Douthat calls “Avatar” the “Gospel according to James. But not the Christian Gospel. Instead, ‘Avatar’ is Cameron’s long apologia for pantheism — a faith that equates God with Nature, and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.” Douthat contends that societies close to nature, like the Na’vi in “Avatar,” aren’t shining Edens at all — “they’re places where existence tends to be nasty, brutish and short.”
There are tons of other grumpy conservative broadsides against the film, but I’ll spare you the details, except to say that Cameron’s grand cinematic fantasy, with its mixture of social comment, mysticism and transcendent, fanboy-style video game animation, seems to have hit a very raw nerve with political conservatives, who view everything — foreign affairs, global warming, the White House Christmas tree — through the prism of partisan sloganeering. But why is it doing so well with everyday moviegoers if it’s so full of supposedly buzz-killing liberal messages?”It has the politics of the left, but it also has extraordinary spectacle,” says Govindini Murty, co-founder of the pioneering conservative blog Libertas and executive producer of the new conservative film “Kalifornistan.” “Jim Cameron didn’t come out nowhere. He came on the heels of all the left-wing filmmakers who went before him, who knew that someone with their point of view would have the resources to finally make a breakthrough political film. But even though ‘Avatar’ has an incredibly disturbing anti-human, anti-military, anti-Western world view, it has incredible spectacle and technology and great filmmaking to capture people’s attention. The politics are going right over people’s heads. Its audience isn’t reading the New York Times or the National Review.” I suspect that’s a good explanation. But if I were trying to get to the bottom of conservative complaints with “Avatar,” I’d offer three more key reasons why the film has set the right’s hair on fire:
1) Glorifying soft-headed environmentalism: If you hadn’t noticed, the conservative movement has become the leading focal point for skepticism about global warming. The Wall Street Journal’s ardently right-wing editorial pages have been chock-full of stories ridiculing everything including government sponsorship of alternative energy, nutty Prius enthusiasts and scientists who allegedly suppressed climate change data that called into question their claims about global warming (a flap the WSJ dubbed “Climategate”). Ever since Al Gore took center stage with his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” conservatives have been falling over each other in their attempts to mock liberal planet savers, taking special pleasure in slamming Hollywood environmentalists who fly private jets or live in huge houses. (As soon as Climategate erupted, two Hollywood conservatives surfaced, asking the academy to take back Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” Oscar, even though, inconveniently, the Oscar had actually gone to the film’s director, not Gore.) So Cameron’s giddy embrace of a primitive people who live in harmony with their land — and his scathing portrayal of a soulless corporation willing to do anything, including kill innocent natives, to steal and exploit their planet’s valuable natural resources — is the kind of anti-technology, pro-environment dramaturgy that sets off fire alarms. If “Avatar” had been a western that showed sympathy for the Indians (many have in fact compared its storyline to Kevin Costner’s “Dances with Wolves”), conservatives would probably have been up in arms too. As it is, they have been content to hoot at Cameron’s portrayal of the Na’vi’s one-ness with nature, with Podhoretz writing: “Like the Keebler elves, the Blue People all live in a big tree together and they go to church at another big tree, under which we learn lives Mother Earth, only since it isn’t earth, she isn’t called Mother Earth, but the Great Mother or something like that.”
2) Godless Hollywood triumphs again:
Conservatives have complained for years that Hollywood ignores, laughs at or disrespects religion. And to be fair, they are not so wrong. It’s almost as rare to see a film with a sympathetic portrayal of an openly religious character as it is to see a film with a leading role for an African American actress. I think it’s a stretch to call Hollywood godless, but it would certainly be fair to call it an extremely secular world. Conservatives are always quick to point out that when someone actually made an openly religious film — and of course we’re talking about Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” — it made hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course, they usually fail to mention that when Hollywood made 2005′s “The Nativity Story,” a sweet, very respectful religious drama, it earned $37 million in the U.S., just about what it cost to make. Ross Douthat is probably right. Moviegoers are far more comfortable with a fuzzy, inspirational form of pantheism than they are with an openly biblical message.
3) Hollywood’s long history of anti-military sloganeering:
There is no doubt that “Avatar” portrays its military contractor characters as barbarous mercenaries, willing — even eager — to wipe out innocent natives in their pursuit of Pandora’s precious resources. It almost feels as if Cameron is drawing parallels, not only to the Iraq war, but to Vietnam, where the military found itself in the nihilistic position of destroying villages just to save them. Even the New Yorker’s David Denby, hardly a die-hard conservative, found himself in awe of the film’s “anti-imperialist spectacle.” But while Hollywood often makes antiwar movies, “Avatar” is something different — a peaceful warrior film, celebrating the newly aroused consciousness of a Marine turned defender of a higher faith. What’s fascinating is that the American people, who have almost always shown strong support for our foreign wars, would happily embrace a film that portrays its military characters in such an unflattering light. My guess is that audiences have seen past the obvious because the film is set in a faraway, interplanetary future, not in present-day America. When Russian political dissidents wanted to criticize their oppressive regimes, they would often write stories or make films that were set in the past, inoculating themselves by using a 15th century czar as a stand-in for the tyrant of the day. Cameron has done the same thing, but by moving forward into the future, creating a safe distance for his veiled (and not-so-thinly veiled) social messages.
“Avatar” has, of course, far more on its mind than its politics. It’s a triumph of visual imagination and the world’s first great 3-D movie. But it is fascinating to see how today’s ideology-obsessed conservatives have managed to walk away from such a crowd-pleasing triumph and only see the film’s political subtext, not the groundbreaking artistry that’s staring them right in the face.
In the James Cameron blockbuster “Avatar,” 3-D cinematography is the real star. The bugs and crawling creatures seem to slither into the theater seats. The floating mountains of the planet Pandora hover gloriously overhead. And the Na’Vi, Pandora’s 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned natives, come convincingly to life. “Avatar” has generally won rave reviews, but too many critics have been dividing the movie into the 3-D experience and the plot as if they were unrelated. The remarkable thing about “Avatar” is the degree to which the technology is integral to the story. It is important to show Pandora and its Na’Vi natives in 3-D because “Avatar” is fundamentally about the moral necessity of seeing other beings fully. Three-D technology has come a long way from the old days of the Three Stooges’ pie-throwing antics. Mr. Cameron created a single camera that can shoot live-action stereoscopic 3-D, to take the technology to a new level, and it is an undeniable crowd pleaser. At the Imax theater in Manhattan where I watched “Avatar,” people fussed with their plastic 3-D glasses — a big improvement on the old paper and plastic film — for a few minutes. But before long the hushed audience seemed immersed in another world. “Avatar” centers on a rapacious company that is intent on harvesting valuable ore from Pandora; the Na’Vi live over the largest deposit. The plot is firmly in the anti-imperialist canon, a 22nd-century version of the American colonists vs. the British, India vs. the Raj, or Latin America vs. United Fruit. Underlying the political message is the running theme of the importance of seeing clearly. “Avatar” opens with the hero’s eye snapping open. The movie’s title comes from a bit of visual deception. The mining company has developed avatars — part-human, part-Na’Vi bodies — that allow its employees to appear more like the natives and help them in winning the Na’Vis’ trust. The central love story reaches its culmination with the lovers declaring, “I see you.” The movie’s ending, which I will not give away here, brilliantly drives home, one last time, the importance of how one sees things. The ability to see Pandora’s natives for who they are is the movie’s moral touchstone. The company’s shock troops, who have not seen the Na’Vi up close, view them as nothing more than an impediment to the extraction of ore. When the inevitable battle begins, one employee refers to them as roaches. The two human characters who live among the Na’Vi undergo conversions and come to realize the importance of respecting them and their way of life. All of this draws on a well-known principle of totalitarianism and genocide — that it is easiest to oppress those we cannot see. This is one reason the Nazis pushed Jews into ghettos, and one reason that the worst Soviet abuses occurred in far-off gulags. The movie’s rich 3-D technology allows the audience to feel that it has lived among the Na’Vi as well. Through this immersion experience, we undergo the same kind of moral education as the characters who lived with the Na’Vi. The friend I saw “Avatar” with wondered aloud, a bit too optimistically, if people would be able to think of the battles between the developed world and indigenous peoples the same way after seeing this movie. Three-D is having a moment, again. A new 3-D “Alice in Wonderland” starring Johnny Depp will soon hit the theaters, along with a NASA-Imax collaboration about a mission to repair the Hubble telescope. This may finally be the long-predicted age of immersive video. (Sony is predicting that 30 to 50 percent of the television sets that it sells in the 2012 fiscal year will be 3-D.) Or this could be another 3-D flash in the pan. Not every use of the new-generation 3-D will be uplifting. Paramount and MTV drove that home with their announcement, reported by Nikki Finke, the Hollywood blogger, that the third installment of the “Jackass” movie series will be in “eye-popping 3-D.” But “Avatar,” at least, suggests that technology cannot only make entertainment more phantasmagorical but also more humane.