James Cameron’s space fantasy “Avatar” has launched with a solid $27 million opening day at the box office.
Storms in the East likely will hurt the movie’s prospects to approach the December opening weekend record of $77.2 million set by Will Smith’s “I Am Legend.”
“Avatar” did almost as much business Friday as Cameron’s last narrative film, 1997’s “Titanic,” over its entire opening weekend. “Titanic” had a $28.6 million debut weekend, but remained afloat for months at the top of the box office as it took in a record $600 million domestically.
"People ask things like 'will Avatar change cinema?' In many ways it already has and that has happened in production behind the camera," said James Dyer, editor in chief of Empire Digital.
Avatar is the new movie by Hollywood director James Cameron - the 3D film is nearly 60% computer generated and is rumoured to have cost $300m (£187m).
Much of the budget was spent on cutting-edge visual effects, and inventing entirely new technologies to produce what is a live action film set in a CG world.
"We have a brand spanking new stereoscopic 3D camera for the live action portion of the shoot which is separate from the virtual camera and the performance capture techniques," said Mr Cameron.
Performance capture was used to record real actors' movements which were then translated into animated CG aliens called Na'vi.
Director James Cameron said the film industry is still catching up with 3D
"It's a motion capture stage where the sensors in the ceiling pick up absolutely everything that the actors do on the stage," said Mr Dyer.
"The selling point is it renders the action in real time so as a director… you get on your monitor a rough rendering of what the finished film would look like," he added.
Filming and special effects work for the film spanned three continents, including countries such as the US, New Zealand, and England.
Visual effects company Framestore in London was hired to do some of the movie's CG work.
"So what we got from the production was literally an actor in a green background, and we were required to put everything else, including set material props and people," said Jonathan Fawkner from Framestore.
Mr Cameron maintained artistic control by giving Framestore a meticulous pre-visualisation video of how the finished shot should look.
He also created an additional challenge for the CG artists working on the project because all the images must work in a 3D format.
The sci fi film Avatar is nearly 60% computer generated
Ocula software developed by visual effects firm The Foundry was used to complete the 3D work.
"So the live action sequences of Avatar have been shot with two cameras so you've got a left image and a right image to get the 3D effect," explained Dr Bill Collis, chief executive of The Foundry.
"Occula allows you to manipulate these images - for example, if the two cameras shooting the scene aren't quite aligned… will you feel possibly nauseous or a strain on your eyes," he said.
An abundance of cutting edge tech has been used to bring Avatar's alien world to life on the screen.
But the story itself sticks to a fairly traditional formula - alien creatures who live on the distant world of Pandora are threatened by humans.
The blue-skinned and 10 feet tall Na'vi have to battle an exploitative human firm which is after a precious mineral.
Paraplegic ex-marine Jake Sully is hired to remotely control an avatar to get to know the locals but it ends up falling in love with a local tribal princess.
Film reviews have been mostly positive, but Mr Dyer believes the film was written to push technological boundaries rather than for the storyline.
James Dyer said Avatar was produced to push technological boundaries
"He wrote this to push digital boundaries so much so that when he went to people at Digital Domain and said I want to make this film they said it can't be done we can't convincingly bring this to the screen".
"The story in itself is not a bad one. It's an archetype Dances With Wolves, it's Pocahontas, it's that kind of thing," he added.
Director Cameron said he decided to go ahead with the film rather than wait for the rest of the film industry to catch up.
"We took the bull by the horns and just got on with it ourselves. Through some time and energy, we came up with a tool set and a process that allowed us to create these alien creatures," Mr Cameron said.
The director took both a technological and financial gamble, but Avatar's success now rest with audiences worldwide.
"It's a big financial investment and there's a lot riding on it but it's not the first time Cameron's' been in this position. Terminator 2 was the most expensive film ever made, Titanic was the most expensive film ever made, this is what he does," said Mr Dyer.
"When he goes to a studio and say look I want X amount of hundred million to make a ground breaking 3D film about cat people in space, they believe him".
I think he will reach more than $ 77,O million, couse I sow today at the mall and I was impresed.
A film that transports you to another world where you can learn something new. Everything is based somewhere between the idea of itself and a possible reality in which things can be moved by small .. like love again ...who can keep it yourself far away even if it is our dear planet Earth.
The end is about :) Do not take what is not yours; command of 10 from the 10 commandments of God left..;) and if you put the 3 D glasses you will understand better maybe... Really worth it, and I strongly suggest that you must go to watch it! Well worth it!;)Trust me one more time ..=))