Thursday, 7 January 2010

Q5: Who is the target audience and how have they been targeted in the UK?

As James Cameron states in the clip above, Avatar has needed to target a wide range of audiences in order to recoup its costs.

However he also said that 'Avatar sort of plays in the ad materials as a boy's movie, which I don't think it is. Our biggest challenge now is letting females understand that this is a movie for them- it's not like Titanic where its obvious.' (Vanity Fair)

Distributor 20th Century Fox reported that the audience breakdown of people who went to see the film was 57% male and 62% were aged 25 and older.

Young Adults in general are targeted through the internet on interactive websites such as Facebook and Youtube. Also targeting them the films symbiotic relationships with companys such as LG and Coke Zero. The trailer has been shown on MTV which is mainly associated with young people.

Males: strong male lead character

action scenes- explosions and battles shown in the trailer

Avatar video game release

Females: strong female characters

love story – emotions

“So often, movies feature female characters devised by men who see women as either sex objects, victims or somehow awaiting rescue. In "Avatar," you'll meet the female leader of the Navi. She marries the king, but it is she who "interprets the voice of god." Michelle Rodriguez plays a serious butt-kicking helicopter pilot. And Sigourney Weaver plays a chain-smoking scientist whose involvement with the military goes from shaky to complete rebellion. Loved them.” - He Said She Said movie review.

Adults: Avatar promoted on main news channels BBC, ITV Channel4

Aritcles in newspapers such as the Guardian

Children: Mattel Toys available on official avatar website

Fantasy genre

Release of the avatar game

12A rating

Film fans- Interviews and promotion on Sky Movies, Film4 and in magines Empire and Total Film

Families - trailer on Primetime TV spots - ITV

GMTV feature

12A rating- parents should go and see it with their children

Posted By Sheera

Q4: Where and how is the film being exhibited in the UK?

On the 10 December 2009, Avatar's world premiere was in London. (see picture below)Despite being premiered in the UK, the film was released here on the 17 December 2009 (at a similar date to most countries around the world). In the USA, Avatar was exhibited at 3,452 sites but in the in the UK, Avatar was exhibited at only 503 sites where it ranked at #1 in it's first week. In the opening weekend, the film had earned a gross of £8,509,050 in the UK alone.

By the second week, Avatar's rank had fallen to #2 in the UK, although it remained at #1 in the USA. In the UK, Avatar was only showing at 478 sites. By the second weekend (starting on the 25 December 2009), the film had earned a resulting gross of £18,404,659 from box office sales in the UK.

As mentioned about the production, Avatar was 'filmed' stereoscopically (in 3D) so it was exhibited in several sites with projectors capable of exhibiting in this way; sites include Odeon cinemas, Cineworld cinemas and the BFI IMAX in London. (see screenshot from the BFI IMAX's website below)
Although Avatar has had lots of effort put into the visuals and 3D appearance, the film is also being exhibited in 2D in the UK for 3 main reasons:
  1. Some cinemas cannot afford to show 3D films as they would need to purchase the new technology; a 3D projector, 3D glasses, etc.
  2. Some people cannot watch a film in 3D due to health - related issues, this may be that they feel nauseous watching it or that they may have a disability that affects their vision.
  3. Some people don't want to watch Avatar in 3D, they may think that the story is more important than the visuals or that it won't be worth the extra cost.
Written by Dominic Crewe

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Q6: How have audiences responded and reacted to the film?

From reviews and comments on the web, the general consensus by people who have seen the film:

+ Stunning visual effects

+ The story of avatar is quite predictable

+ In spite of this, the narrative holds up well enough for a great film experience overall


Opening weekend: North America - $73m (£45.3m) Uk : £5,940,479 in opening weekend

As of Jan 4th 2010:

Domestic total: $360,209,452

Foreign total: $702,942,307

UK: £32,815,618

Total Worldwide: $1,063,151,759

Uses and Gratifications Theory

+ Social interaction

Being a big budget Hollywood event & blockbuster movie, Avatar has been a basis for social interaction and conversation from pre production to its release.Audiences can take pleasure from being ‘in the know’ about the numerous issues and stories relating to the film. Examples:

~ The new technology that James Cameron helped produce led to high expectations that it would revolutionize cinema with directors such as Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg already using the equipment for their upcoming films.

~ Parallels to our world - Although Cameron states that he is ‘not directly politically active’ discussion has been raised on whether Avatar's story reflects political issues with one scene that echoes the events of 9/11. Cameron credits Science fiction for allowing metaphors concerning human history to be recreated for modern day audiences, possibly providing an educational appeal for some:

‘Avatar was more in response to the way the history of the human race has been written in blood by technically or militarily superior people taking from those less capable. It’s important for people to see the patterns in history. Science fiction is a way of making history exciting by putting it in the future and taking you to a new planet ... Suddenly it’s got a new context and people are paying attention.’

The entertainment and escapist pleasures also contribute to pleasures gained from social interaction as the audience will also be talking about these aspects:

+ Escapism – the action-adventure and sci fi aspects of the film allow the audience to be immersed in the world of Pandora and introduced to a new alien species.

'I think kids will want to stay in the theater with their sleeping bags so they don't have to go out into the real world’ - Sigourney Weaver

+ Entertainment

It’s an important film from a technical standpoint but it is also great entertainment.

‘The irony is that the technology made the technology go away’ (JC) i.e. The technology reinforces the storytelling, it doesn’t replace it.’

Posted by Sheera

Q3:How has the film been marketed to ensure it successfully reaches its target audience?

According to a Fox spokesperson, the budget to promote Avatar was $150,000,000. From my research into the marketing of Avatar and from the research I did when I was attending an exhibition of the film, I have reason to believe that there are 3 broad audiences which Avatar has:
  1. Young adults
  2. Film enthusiasts
  3. Families

I have split up the film's marketing by which audience group is targeted.

Young Adults

Avatar's marketing campaign seemed to be aimed mostly at young adults as it mostly consisted of many symbiotic partnerships with other institutions that reach to this audience group:
  • LG - Who sponsored the premiere of Avatar and had a 30 second advert shown before it:
  • Coca-Cola Zero (and Twitter and Facebook) - Coca-Cola has designed cans with AVTR on it which will reach young adults and encourage them to visit the AVTR website. The AVTR website is set in the Pandora universe (the location where Avatar is set) as it has several references to the film and adverts for Coca-Cola Zero which means it acts as a symbiotic partnership as it encourages people interested in Coca-Cola Zero to watch Avatar and vice versa. Additionally, the website has a link to Twitter and 'tweets' about Avatar coming from it. There are also links on the AVTR website to the official Facebook page so that they can become a fan:
To generate more public awareness of Avatar (and to symbiotically help YouTube), Avatar has a YouTube account which has reached more than 450,000 people with its videos of trailers and featurettes which appeal to an audience of film enthusiasts as well.

Additionally, Facebook and MTV hosted a 30-minute webcast of James Cameron answering questions sent by fans. TV trailers for Avatar have also been broadcast on MTV as it reaches young people.

Another way that awareness of Avatar has reached this audience is through word - of - mouth as young people may communicate with each other about the film. Word - of - mouth has become an incredibly important aspect in determining its awareness in the public recently due to increase in digital technology over the last 20 years. Technological convergence has made it easier for people (particularly young people) to communicate quickly and spontaneous with each other via wireless broadband, bluetooth and by texting without having to meet in person.

Film Enthusiasts

Although many film enthusiasts may have been aware of Avatar before its premiere from the reasons I shall mention below, it was still necessary as it was announced on news on all of the main channels (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five) which gave it lots of awareness to people but also it was reported on the news as being the ''most expensive film of all time'' as the film (allegedly) had a budget of $237,000,000.

Many film enthusiasts wanted to see Avatar because it has pioneering new technology (in the fields of motion capture and 3D filmmaking). As a result, a large portion of the marketing has been to inform this audience of what goes on behind-the-scenes.

Newspapers such as The Guardian have had articles explaining Avatar's new technology. James Cameron and Sam Worthington have been interviewed on TV channels including Sky Movies and Film 4 which film enthusiasts would probably be subscribed to. Film magazines such as Total Film and Empire (see cover below) have had interviews and information about Avatar which again, might reach film enthusiasts. Additionally, during the production of Avatar, James Cameron invited several directors and other people in the film industry to the set and to screenings to generator word-of-mouth among people in the industry and film enthusiasts in the know.


I have noticed that although a lot of families attended the exhibition of Avatar that I went to, there was only one main type of marketing targeting them. That would be on television, specifically in post-release trailers of Avatar such as this:

Similar trailers have been broadcast on channels such as ITV, usually at times between 6PM and prime-time when families are likely to be watching. Also on ITV, GMTV had a story on it which would reach families due to the nature of the show.

Written by Dominic

Additional Research from Sheera

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Q2: How has the UK theatrical distribution of the film been managed in order to ensure the film's success in the UK ?

20th Century Fox International distributed the film in the UK. They also produced the film with Cameron's Production company Lightstorm Entertainment. Fox said that Avatar was their most expensive movie - to make and market.

The film was originally set for release on May22nd 2009. during filming but was pushed back, to allow more post-production time, and to also give more time to theatres worldwide to install 3D projectors.
Fox has produced films for similar audiences to Avatar such as the Star Wars, X-men and Ice Age franchises. Previous successful movies directed by James Cameron 'Aliens'(1983) and 'Titanic'(1997).
The film was then released theatrically worldwide at midnight from December 16 - 18.
It was released at midnight on December 18th 2009 in the UK.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Q1:How was the film produced to appeal to the audience ?

In 1994 James Cameron wrote a 114 page script for Avatar, his inspiration being 'every single science fiction book I read as a kid' - inevitably the story of Avatar would appeal to sci fi lovers.

August 1996
Cameron announced the filming of Avatar would begin after he completed Titanic.
The film would:
  • make use of "synthetic" (computer-generated) actors.
  • involve at least six actors in leading roles "who appears to be real but do not exist in the physical world

Budget – Although the budget has been disputed by many sources, a studio spokesperson, speaking with film website The Wrap, said that the budget "is $237 million, with $150 million for promotion, end of story."

In depth research and planning has gone into creating the world of Pandora in order for it to be believable and realistic, thereby creating a new race and culture that the audience can be fully immersed in:

- From January to April 2006 Cameron worked with renowned linguist professor Dr Paul Frommer to develop a Na'vi language and culture for the indigenous race on Pandora.

- Also, to create the human mining colony on Pandora, production designers visited a -drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico in June 2007. They photographed, measured and filmed every aspect of the rig, which was replicated on-screen with photorealistic CGI.

- James Cameron sent the cast off to the jungle for bonding boot-camp exercise before shooting.

Cameron's production company 'Lightstorm Etertainment' signed on with 20th Century Fox for the film's production. In December 2006 Cameron revealed the technology he produced to make the film:

Cameron's virtual camera allows him to observe directly on a monitor how the actors' virtual counterparts interact with the movie's digital world in real time and adjust and direct the scenes just as if shooting live action,unlike previous motion-capture systems where the digital environment is added after the actor's motions have been captured.

‘The Volume’ - a motion-capture stage 6x larger than any previously used enabling full performance capture. To achieve this, actors wore individually made skull caps with a tiny camera attached, located in the front of the actors' faces, which collects information about their facial expressions and eyes, which is then transmitted to the computers.

He also gave Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson a chance to test the new technology. Spielberg and George Lucas were also able to visit the set to watch Cameron direct with the equipment.

Being produced in 3D: The live action was shot with a digital 3D Fusion Camera System developed by Cameron and Vince Pace. More than 1000 people worked on the production.

"When you see a scene in 3D, that sense of reality is supercharged. Avatar takes place in another world & you'll feel like you've been 2 that world." - James Cameron

In spite of the hype over 3D Cameron firmly believes that the narrative can’t be sacrificed for technology. A large no of people will still see it in 2D so it’s the emotions, characters and the story that come first.

January 2007

The press release described the film: "Avatar is also an emotional journey of redemption and revolution. It is the story of a wounded former Marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rick in biodiversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival" and "We're creating an entire world, a complete ecosystem of phantasmogorical plants and creatures, and a native people with a rich culture and language"Cameron described the film as a hybrid with a full live-action shoot in combination with computer-generated characters and live environments.

A new fantasy world appeals to everyone who wants to escape their own lives for a few hours. And the live action mainly appeals to males who love explosions.

Posted By Patricia

Edited by Sheera