AVATAR in Pakistan first hit the news officially on 6 December 2009. As marketers we were hosting the press launch on behalf of 20th Century Fox International and Mandviwalla Entertainment in Pakistan.
The director James Cameron made the entire publicity campaign live up to Avatar’s own technological advances. By keeping the plot to a minimum and banking on fans immersing themselves in an augmented reality. It’s very rare that you actually get an opportunity to work on an original idea.The whole complexity around marketing Avatar was to live the brand through fan engagement ultimately leading to sell movie tickets. That is exactly what happened on an unprecedented scale worldwide.
James Cameron’s film “Avatar” had a significant impact on the film industry and cinema as a whole. Here are some ways in which “Avatar” and James Cameron changed film and cinema:
- Technological Advancements: “Avatar” pushed the boundaries of technology in filmmaking. Cameron pioneered the use of cutting-edge 3D technology and motion-capture techniques, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience for audiences. The film’s success paved the way for the widespread adoption of 3D technology in cinemas and influenced the development of advanced visual effects in subsequent films.
- Box Office Success: “Avatar” became a box office phenomenon, earning over $2.7 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of all time (until surpassed by “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019). Its unprecedented success demonstrated the potential for big-budget films to achieve extraordinary commercial success and encouraged studios to invest in ambitious, visually spectacular projects.
- Revival of 3D Cinema: “Avatar” played a crucial role in revitalizing the popularity of 3D cinema. Following its release, there was a surge in the production and release of 3D films, as studios recognized the market demand for immersive visual experiences. This trend led to the widespread adoption of 3D technology in cinemas and influenced the way films were made and presented to audiences.
- Environmental and Social Themes: “Avatar” addressed environmental and social themes, highlighting the impact of human activities on nature and indigenous cultures. The film’s success brought attention to these issues and sparked conversations about environmental conservation and cultural preservation. It demonstrated that blockbuster films can also convey meaningful messages and promote social consciousness.
- Influence on Filmmaking Techniques: The success of “Avatar” led to the adoption of its filmmaking techniques by other directors and filmmakers. The use of motion-capture technology, realistic CGI, and immersive 3D experiences became more prevalent in subsequent films, influencing the visual style and storytelling approaches of many filmmakers.
- Expanded Franchise and Future Sequels: “Avatar” launched a franchise, with James Cameron planning a series of sequels set in the same universe. The success of the film allowed Cameron to secure funding and support for multiple follow-up films, which will continue to explore the world of Pandora. This approach of building a cinematic universe around a single film has become more common in recent years.
Overall, “Avatar” and James Cameron’s contributions to the film industry have left a lasting impact on cinema. The film’s technological achievements, box office success, and influence on film making techniques have reshaped the way movies are made, presented, and experienced by audiences.
Marketing therefore became vital to create at least the kind of awareness the movie and its legacy deserves. Under defined parameters of brand and communication guidelines.
“Avatar, is going to hit cinema screens on Dec 18 in the US, and the good news for us Pakistanis is that it will grace our cinema halls on new year’s eve. The film is said to be a big-budgeted project with expenditure crossing the $230m mark. It’s a mix of action, adventure, romance and fantasy, created with the help of the most hi-tech computer generated images (CGIs).” Reported Pakistan’s leading english daily Dawn.
The territory had another challenge. The release schedule was in favor of the Bollywood’s leading icon Amir Khan Starrer 3 Idiots. For the local market this was a no brainer. Avatar should not be even competing with a Bollywood rare gem. Yet it did and performed outstandingly well.
August 21 was celebrated as “Avatar Day.” Today, it should be remembered as the dawn of the most comprehensive digital marketing campaign ever developed to support a film.
Moviegoers in more than 100 IMAX 3-D theaters worldwide watched 16 minutes of footage from a new James Cameron movie.
That same day, Ubisoft debuted a trailer for a videogame based on the film.
Moreover, Mattel unveiled action figures inspired by the film’s characters.
As a result and a day earlier, the teaser for the very same film broke a record on Apple.com
The goal of any theatrical movie marketing campaign is to get people to head to the theater in order to spend $10 to $15 and grab a seat for two-plus hours. Pakistan did not have that kind of Cinema Experience but Avatar help change that by creating the awareness for Digital 3D. Rest as they say is history.
It all started on August 21, 2009, the day that started the campaign and successfully moved millions of people to experience something new and blue. The world went out to see the film in unprecedented numbers.
On that front, the entire campaign has been a success story. Years on the world goes out to experience it more at Pandora The World of Avatar by Disney and coming soon the next chapters of the movie.