James Cameron's longtime film project Avatar hits cinemas next Friday. Conceived more than 14 years ago, the film's vision was too advanced for technologies at the time. After several special effects advancements created specifically for the film, Avatar's hybrid of live-action shots and computer-generated characters and environments finally came together.
However, these advancements didn't come cheap; the film is estimated to have cost more than $300 million. News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWS ) subsidiary Twentieth Century Fox is distributing the film, and expects to spend more than $150 million in marketing. Despite the massive funding being poured into the film, The Wall Street Journal reports that interest in the film has proven uneven.
"Market research suggests mixed levels of interest among potential audiences for the extravagant 3-D sci-fi picture "Avatar," raising the stakes for the backers of one of the most expensive movies ever made."
If Avatar doesn't meet expectations, will other studios such as Disney (NYSE: DIS ) , Sony (NYSE: SNE ) , or GE's (NYSE: GE ) NBC Universal become more risk-averse toward blockbuster films? If the film succeeds, will it lead to a broader adoption of 3-D cinema techniques from these rival studios?
Since the WSJ article was published, a stream of generally positive reviews have started surfacing on the film, which should boost its interest level and long-term box office. My opinion is that the film will succeed and recoup development costs, and that 3-D cinema could provide a reason for consumers to once again head back to the cinema.
However, we want to hear from our readers. Will you be seeing Avatar, and do you think the film could lead to a greater adoption of 3-D cinema? Which companies stand to benefit the most? Drop a comment in the area below!