‘Avatar’ looks to create a fan tribe that will carry on past the film

May 27, 2010 | 1:35 a.m.

Avatar faces


Avatar is now the bestselling Blu-ray in the history of the format (although that’s not all that long, truth be told) but one big reason is the jammed-to-the-gills quality of the images and sound on the take-it-home version.

“Avatar,” obviously, was created to be seen on a theater screen, and in 3D. So the transition to home video was a challenging one — and, on top of that, writer-director James Cameron is a world-class perfectionist. For both those reasons, every bit of disc room was dedicated to a meticulously transferred version of the film and it shows in clarity, visual punch and the richness of imagery.

Avatar bluray

The trade-off, though, was a pricey disc that comes with no extras at all. The disc doesn’t even have trailers or advertisement of any kind (a fact that must have distressed an executive or two at Fox since the promotional real estate on the bestselling Blu-ray of all time is clearly a commodity). It was an admirable decision, really, but today’s consumers are accustomed to extras and their first reaction when they don’t see any is to think they’re getting a cut-rate product.

To fill the gap, the folks at Fox Home Video and on Cameron’s team (which is, ultimately, led by Oscar-winning producer Jon Landau and Cameron himself) have created the elaborate website AvatarMovie.com, where you can access those extras on-line and, with a code you get by purchasing an “Avatar” DVD or Blu-ray, access even more content and a sense of community. The code leads the way to “first-look bonus materials, special content, money-saving offers and more,” as Fox puts it. Also, only those fans who register for “The Avatar Program” with that code will be able to adopt a seedling among the 1 million trees being planted as part of the film’s Earth Day initiative (adoption comes with “a virtual hometree” that locates your adopted tree on a map).

I’d be interested to hear what Hero Complex readers think of the quality of the offerings on the website but more than that what your view is on the idea of creating something akin to an “Avatar” community. “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” have each became the axis of vast tribal followings (with some factions treating it as a quasi-religion) but other “visionary” sci-fi franchises (The Matrix springs to mind) live on as great moments in film but don’t become pop-culture movements. “Avatar” certainly stirred some obsessive behavior but, a decade from now, will there be conventions dedicated to Cameron’s universe?  A lot depends on that alien-oceans sequel, I’d say…

Here’s a quick excerpt from one of the videos that is part of content on the website. It’s Stephen Lang, who gave one of the most memorable performances in the film, in character and explaining the dangers and delights of Pandora….

Jujubes taste good.

— Geoff Boucher


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James Cameron: ‘Avatar’ is my most personal film

Mexico City heist: Bandit steals truckload of “Avatar” discs

The filmmaking magic behind blue-face emotion

Cameron on ‘Avatar’: Like ‘Matrix,’ it opens doorways

Don’t tell Stephen Lang he’s the villain in ‘Avatar’

REVIEW: ‘Avatar’ restores sense of wonder

‘Matrix,’ ‘Star Wars’  — coming soon in 3-D?

PHOTOS: Top, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in “Avatar” (Twentieth Century Fox); Second, the Blu-ray for “Avatar” is a bestseller (Fox); bottom, James Cameron goes native, illustration by Kevin Lingenfelser

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22 Responses to ‘Avatar’ looks to create a fan tribe that will carry on past the film

  1. Kaltxì – There is a thriving community of Avatar fans at http://avatar.typepad.com. Join us!

    • karen guertin says:

      dont know if this is what you want to hear but i haved watched avatar 11 times and want to watch it again! i am 53 yrs old and in all of my life i have never watched a movie as good as avatar. james cameron is the best. i wish i could afford to see it at imax. thank you james cameron.

      • Diana Bohn says:

        your not alone I am 52 and have the video in DVD and Blue Ray I have not seen it in (BY) yet nor was I able to make it to the thearter to see it in 3-D. But can tell you I have sat a home and watch it I'm sure getting close to hunderd times. I am working on my Hollween my costume now, making my own Avatar the store versions are for the kids. Looking forward to when it comes back to Bardstown KY, Thank you James Cameron for making the best flim ever.

      • katherine mesker says:

        i agree i loved it cant stop watching it ! best movie ever ! we want more!!

      • katherine mesker says:

        i watched it 50 times i cant get enough we want more

    • Garewolf says:

      Avatar has replaced Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan as my all time favorite. I watched it at least 30 times before the collectors edition came out and have seen the long version at least 30 more times. The only thing that would have improved on the long version is if they had put the unfinished and deleted scenes in. That would have been awesome!. So what if it makes it 4 hrs long? Its so easy to loose yourself in this movie, the time frame wouldn't have mattered. I'm 55 years old and have seen a lot of movies and this one has my #1 spot . James Cameron, "you done good."

  2. Trent says:

    Fox should absolutely encourage a community, but it's going to have to come up naturally. They should offer up some special events like screenings with Cameron and Landau where there's in-depth Q&A to drive some interest, then encourage those people to start forming a community.
    But it's debatable whether "Avatar" had the kind of impact, even with it's boxoffice, that "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" had. Those kinds of communities are rare indeed. You can't force something like this, but you can build it slowly and carefully. Cameron's company should manage it, not Fox. He knows the film better than anyone. But they should do "Avatar Days" at wildlife preserves, ecology areas and the like, and Cameron should be very involved at the start, to make it all feel real.
    I've seen you write about what Disney is doing with D23 and I think they're close but it still feels more like a corporate initiative than something organic. Obviously an "Avatar" community would need to feel ORGANIC!! But when it starts feeling like a way to make money, that can be a problem. Though come to think of it, "Star Wars" fans don't seem to have any problem with paying hundreds or thousands of dollars over and over and over again for the same thing. But remember, that "movement" sprang out of a different time. Now we're all media savvy and sensitive to the idea of trying to "buy" our way in. But there does seem to be merit here on some level, IF Cameron and Landau are involved closely.

  3. Horace Austin says:

    STAR TREK (The Original Series) lasted just three seasons on TV. The emergence of the Star Trek convention culture occurred after the show was cancelled. It wasn't initiated by the studio or Gene Roddenberry. It emerged on its own.
    The same can be said for the STAR WARS fan base. The phenomenal success of the first STAR WARS film in 1977 was a total surprise. No one saw it coming. The fan base emerged organically.
    So I agree with Trent's post that an AVATAR fan base must also emerge naturally. It has to start with the true believers.

  4. Toir says:

    There are four or five simulators in SecondLife(tm) that have virtual Pandora's on them. Not the highest of quality, but a niche that Cameron may have missed.

  5. Barry says:

    I would like to see more merchandise. Maybe they could make a special watch or something interesting in addition to the toys.

  6. vicki says:

    do you know if there will be an 'Avatar 2'??
    please tell me if i'll be one!

  7. A Barton says:

    When I first heard of the movie being released and saw the previews on TV I thought, yeah, another kiddie flick. As the weeks went by it was released and I heard people on the street, in restarants, etc, public places talking about it. When my Oh so stuffy daughter from New York, LOL, told me I had to see it I thought she had gone bonkers.
    Well, I am a, see it on TV, if I like it I buy it type of person. I don't go to the movies. I was it on TV, it was released on DVD, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and the rest is history. If my husband would let me, I would watch it every day. I TOTTALY LOVED IT!! I have only watched it 3 times but that has only been in the past month. Check back in a month, I will have watched it while he is snoring away and I am enjoying my favorite movie once again and again, and, on and on. They just have to make another!!!
    Oh, by the way, I am in my 60's, a granny and an Avatar Fan for the rest of my life. I hope there is a place like that in the afterlife cause that's where I'm going.

  8. rillegas08 says:

    There is a huge fanbase on IMVU.com. There are a lot of clans and rooms made to look like Pandora. All you have to do is use the search bar.

    • rillegas08 says:

      Also, to reiterate how many people have taken IMVU to be their main reason to be part of Pandora, if you take the little time to look at each room dedicated to the Na'vi, you will find over 100. I can't tell you how many rooms are dedicated to Na'vi for sure, because on IMVU there is a limit (100) to how many rooms you can add to your favorites.

  9. Aaron says:

    Stay tuned for my fan fiction sequel. It's pretty darn amazing.

  10. Ken McFarland says:

    I love this movie. I'm 53 and I've seen this movie …….?…… times. I also own it on DVD. Is there any way to learn the language of the Na'vi? I would love to learn. I have found what I believe to be the written language of the Na'vi. One other thing that I have noticed is that I don't believe the Na'vi are native to Pandora. All of the native species are six limbed…..The Na'vi are not. Is it possible that they came to this moon in the distant past?

  11. Alicia says:

    I have seen from my view there is a large enough base for a major fan thing such as the way StarTrek made steps. But it is only one movie so far. This one movie has caused a lot of people to like it, it is also coming at a crucial time where our own planet is being killed by us for resources. I am 18 and a major fan, it is what my generation has grown up seeing become a reality. I think the mix of military, romance, tribes, and everything makes a very wide-spread fan base. I am completely obsessed(I would start to learn the language that was created but I fail at that). I would love to see regular everyday products for it though and not just figurines and posters. Necklaces, mouse pads, blankets, etc, heck, even halloween costumes would likely sell.

  12. Angel says:

    IM 15 AND THIS IS THE BBBBEEESSSTT MOVIE EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Im mostly cherrokee and i watch old west movies with me papa, he calls me papoose.
    I LOVE YOU J.C.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Austin says:

    Now that we have invested in 3d,TV,glasses,various converters and emitters…. When will the 3d version be released??? I am paralized and home-bound and seeing it in true 3d is out of the question; but not if you release it in 3d blue ray. Please!!!

  14. Taylor says:

    avataris a life changin experience fur me…. i loved the movie so much i plan on passing this life changin experience down to my children in the future.. though i am young AVATAR is the best movie i have ever seen in my entire life and i love it so much,….. it has changed the way i see things and i wish i cud even live on pandora….. people cll me crazy but they just dont understand… i believe james cameron is the most inventive and amazing person in the whole world for coming up with the idea of this movie and executing it… and i commend all the people who were there to help him with all the technological and bringing of cultural aspects of the movie to make i loved it so much guys.

  15. Joe says:

    I would like to know if or when Avatar will be out in 3-D? I have a 73 inch Mitsubishi home theater system and just got the 3-D package but there are no good 3-D movies to buy. Does any one know when #-d will be available?

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