Friday, 8 January 2010

Question Summary

Here are short, summary answers to the questions. More detail can be found through the question links in the labels.

1. How was the film produced to appeal to the audience?
  • Fusion 3D Technology was used to make the film spectacular and give it something the low budget/amateur films don't have
  • The narrative was kept as a simple, classic Hollywood narrative, a tried and tested formula so audiences to focus on the spectacular special effects without losing track of the plot
  • The genre (fantasy, sci/fi, action) was chosen to appeal to huge family audiences and allow the creators to show maximum special effects as they enhance this genre

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

  • Distributed on multiple platforms to give it the modern, global 'brand' name it needs in the current film industry
  • Fox marketed their own brand through Avatar, by theming their own site to the narrative world of the film

3. How has the film been marketing to ensure it successfully reaches its target audience?

  • Sold the film through the success of the director, Cameron, as his films were hugely successful in the UK before, and some share similar genres therefore audiences (e.g. Terminator)
  • Star power was a major feature in the audience appeal (e.g. Sigourney Weaver)
  • Above the line, mainstream marketing was used (e.g. prime time television trailers, posters, billboards) to reflect the high budget, glossy Hollywood nature of the film, giving the film appeal the low budget films (e.g. Paranormal Activity) don't
  • Sponsored by big brands all with wide audiences (Coke, McDonalds and LG)
  • News reports on the unique, new technology to attract the films fans as well as some who want to see something different

4. Where and how is the film being exibited in the UK?

  • Global premiere in London with iconic blue carpet
  • National release into cinemas, first week 503 sites, second week 485
  • Reached number 1in the box office in its opening weekend, then went to second by Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel

5. Who is the target audience and how have they been targeted in the UK?

  • Masculine audience (displaying of the sci/fi action genre and the connections with technology such as LG, advertising/selling the game before the film's release)
  • Families (12A rating, trailers shown in family films such as The Simpsons Movie, McDonalds and Coke sponsors, the imaginative fantasy genre)
  • Film fans (hype about the 3D technology used, displaying the spectacle as something a low budget film can not provide)

6. How have audiences responded and reacted to the film?

  • Hype created through marketing campaign shown as huge online through, for example, Facebook and Rotton Tomatoes
  • Premiere audiences and all since are stunned and awed by the films simple yet effective plot line, realistic yet imagintive characters and special effects

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Sponsors and Merchandise

Avatar's two U.K. sponsors have helped market the film to its audience and the merchandise will continue the Avatar franchise beyond the film

The U.K. Sponsor's
  • LG Chocolate BL40 and BL20 - As 3G phones, this sponsor will help target the young, modern, tech-savy audience
  • Cokezero - This product is from a massive worldwide company, showing the glossy, high budget appeal of Avatar as well as drawing in wide audiences. Cokezero is especially targeted at men and will therefore reach Avatar's majority male audience
In the USA Avatar toys are being given away in McDonald's Happy Meals. McDonald's is the largest chain of hamburger fast-food restaurants in the world. This also targets the film's family audience.

LG Chocolate

LG Electronics launched a multi-platform marketing campaign with Avatar. This included:
  • A television spot featuring the trailer projected from the LG eXpo
  • An interactive joint-sponsored Facebook page in association with Fox and MTV
  • A movie-themed microsite with exclusive content and video demonstrations of LG eXpo features.
The two websites create interactivity including features such as:
  • Create your own Avatar
  • Upload the trailer to your phone
  • Get Avatar wallpapers, screensavers and ringtones for your phone
LG also have a joint advert with Avatar


Cokezero and Avatar have worked together placing adverts for each other on their websites.
This is particularly prominant on the avtr site, which includes many Cokezero links.

Also, on Cokezero's facebook page their is an Avatar application

"Coca-Cola Zero takes you behind the scenes with exclusive footage, images and an inside look at life on Pandora and the AVTR program"

Cokezero also has a joint advert with Avatar


Mattel Toys announced that they will be making Avatar action figures. Each one will have an individual 3D web tag (or i-TAG) which can be scanned by a webcam to reveal unique on screen content.
Mattel Toys is the largest toy company in the world based on revenue, having produced toys such as Barbie and Hot Wheels

Also, three books have been published:
  • "Avatar, A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora" - A fictional field guide to Pandora
  • "James Cameron's Avatar: The Reusable Scrapbook"- A children's book
  • "The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure" - A book all about the production art work for the film
Finally, "James Cameron's Avatar: The Game", produced by Ubisoft Montreal for most video game platforms, including:
  • PS3
  • PSP
  • Xbox 360
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Nintendo DS
  • iPhone
  • Microsoft Windows

The Game

The game created synergy by distributing the Avatar brand to U.K. audiences through another platform

Why the game was a successful part in the film's distribution and marketing:

  • It was marketed and sold before the U.K. release date in order to wet the appetite of the audience by displaying the unique special effects, narrative and characters
  • Appealed to the male audience, a vital segment of their target audience, by providing another platform to access the Avatar brand
  • Connected with the action/fantasy genre, a genre that lends itself perfectly to a successful video game and therefore the two industries (film and video game) attract similar audiences
  • Avatar needed to connect with the proliferation of hardware to sell the film successfully as audiences no longer access their media from one source, but look for cross media convergence

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

3D Technology

The 3D technology was one of the main production methods used to appeal to the audience.

Fusion 3D Technology

James Cameron co-developed The Fusion Camera System with Vince Pace in order to shoot in stereoscopic 3D

"It essentially recognises a focal length and adjusts the controls of the system provide a starting point. I believe it will allow the cinematographer to focus on creative decisions rather than the technical. It will also help minimise the number of bad 3D shots" - Vince Pace

Audience Appeal

  • "Without those polarised goggles Avatar [would be] just another cornball sci-fi fantasty about alien monsters on a faraway planet" Xan Brooks (The Guardian)
  • Increases the atmosphere and therefore helps to suspend the audience's disbelief
  • It gives the Hollywood high budget films an attraction amateur/low budget films don't have
  • Creates increased interest - the factor this film has that others don't

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Audience Response

  • 570581 fans (03/01/10)
  • Response from the official Avatar comments exceeds 7000 comments, raising huge viral hype before, during and after release

Rotten Tomatoes

London Premiere Audience

"First audiences rave about Cameron's 3D epic Avatar - By Mairi Mackay CNN

London, England

As the credits rolled following the 3D epic's world premiere in London on Thursday, it looked like the "Titanic" director's decade long gamble had paid off.

There were whoops and cheers as portions of the audience gave Cameron and cast members a standing ovation."

  • "It was an absolute marvel and I am left in awe after seeing it," audience member James Howard, 23, said of the magical jungle that lights up with phosphorescence at night.
  • "The Na'vi female character had a really expressive face. She was really beautiful and that's why I think it worked." Kent Renwick, 39
  • Others commended the advanced 3D: Lucy Biswicke. 34. said she had no feelings of motion sickness from wearing the specs. "It's all about the quality of the 3D for me. I'd never seen a 3D film before and this is amazing."

Trailer Analysis

One of the main methods by which the film has been marketed to reach the U.K. target audience is via the trailers, shown on Channel 4, E4, Film4 and in cinemas

Teaser Trailer

Key Points:

  • Quick, fast paced clips
  • No dialogue
  • "From the director of Titanic"
  • Release date
  • Title

Full Length Trailer

Key Points:

  • Dialogue from film gives a sense of characters and lays out the narrative
  • Release date
  • Distributer
  • Director
  • Director's past films
  • Title


  • Full length trailer uses dialogue to explain the narrative and characters
  • Full length trailer places more emphasis on Cameron and his past successes

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Competing Titles

Competing titles sharing Avatar's opening weekend:
  • St Trinian's 2 (18/12/09) - Pre-teen female audience opposes target audience for Avatar
  • Where the Wild Things Are (11/12/09) - Competes for family audience and fans of the fantasy genre. However Avatar has the 3D appeal and other core audiences (e.g. adult males)

Other competing titles still in cinemas on Avatar's opening weekend:

  • Planet 51 (04/12/09)
  • Nativity! (27/11/09)
  • Law Abiding Citizen (27/11/09)
  • Paranormal Activity (25/11/09)
  • New Moon (20/11/09)
  • 2012 (13/11/09)
  • Christmas Carol 3D (03/11/09)

Competing titles after Avatar's opening weekend:

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel (21/12/09) - Took over Avatar in number 1 spot in Avatar's second weekend, possibly due to strong family appeal
  • Sherlock Holmes (25/12/09)
  • Nowhere Boy (25/12/09)