Avatar is a 2009 science fiction film directed by James Cameron. At the time of release, the film was the highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation, and received nine Academy Award nominations. Many credit the film with advancing 3D and CGI technology. After the film’s success, Cameron announced four sequels, which have since been delayed numerous times.
Director James Cameron wrote the original, 80-page treatment for Avatar in 1995. 10 years later, following the success of Cameron’s Titanic_, the director returned to the idea, saying that he was working on an “Alita: Battle Angel”:/memes/subcultures/alita-battle-angel/ and “Project 880,” which he would later title Avatar.
In 2009, Cameron premiered the first trailer for Avatar at Comic-Con (shown below).
On December 18th, 2009, 20th Century Fox released Avatar in the United States. The film went on to gross more than $2.7 billion around the world.
Cameron delayed sequels to Avatar several times due to the technical issues with the film. First announced in 2010, Cameron initially planned two sequels, shot back-to-back for a 2014 and 2015 release. He later said there would be a fourth sequel, while the whole series would be delayed until 2017.
After several more false starts and delays, Cameron announced that he would release the first sequel on December 21st, 2022.
On September 27th, 2020, in a YouTube live stream, Cameron told Arnold Schwarenegger that he completed the first sequel (shown below).
In its initial release, Avatar was the highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation. The film made more than $2.7 billion worldwide.
The film was also a critical success. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film recieved an 82% fresh score (based on 315 reviews. In its critical consensus, the site writes, “It might be more impressive on a technical level than as a piece of storytelling, but Avatar reaffirms James Cameron’s singular gift for imaginative, absorbing filmmaking.”
In the years since _Avatar_’s release, some have argued that the film made little impact on the culture. In 2014, Forbes published, “Five Years Ago, Avatar Grossed $2.7 Billion But Left No Pop Culture Footprint.” They write, “It did not inspire a passionate following, or a deluge of multimedia spin-offs that has kept the brand alive over the last five years. Few today will even admit to liking it, and its overall effect on the culture at large is basically non-existent. It came, it crushed all long-term box office records, and it vanished almost without a trace.”
However, some argue that Avatar had a greater impact on filmmaking than its given credit for. ScreenRant writes, “[Cameron] worked on new motion capture animation technologies that would allow him to better capture the facial expressions of the actors so the animators could later use them. Other technologies developed for Avatar were a new system for lighting massive areas (like Pandora’s jungle), a new texturing and paint software system, and new ways to make many of the CGI elements look as realistic as possible. In addition to that, Avatar made the 3D format popular (and relevant) again, with a lot of films getting 3D releases ever since.”
Upon its release, Avatar attracted a large fanbase of cosplayers, role-players and fan artists. On Facebook, the official Avatar page, created on May 20th, 2009, has more than 44 million likes. On Twitter, the verified Avatar account has more than 142,000 followers. The / r/Avatar subreddit, which launched on August 17th, 2009, garnered more than 6,900 followers in 11 years.
The Na’vi language used in the film is a functional language that fans learn and contribute to. Developed for the movie by USC communications professor and linguistics consultant, Dr. Paul Frommer, the Na’vi language differs from other conlangs, or fictional languages, like Klingon or Elvish, because it is crowdsourced. It’s one of the only conlangs “created in the era of the internet where a worldwide community has not only been allowed but encouraged to participate in its growth,” Mark Miller of LearnNavi.org explains. “Anyone with the interest and ability to understand the linguistic rules of the language can suggest new vocabulary for Dr. Frommer to approve. A surprising amount of the Na’vi lexicon has been created this way.”
On Febraury 7th, 2020, musical artists TheFatRat and Maisy Kay released the song “The Storm” on YouTube. The chorus of the song is sung in Na’vi. THe post received more than 4.9 million vies in less than one year (shown below).
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