It wasn't too long ago that James Cameron was looked upon by Hollywood like everyone's crazy uncle — the one that shows up during the holidays and starts rambling about all the great things he's going to do once he gets around to it. Someday, he promised, he'd make another movie; just wait, he told us all, because 3-D was going to revolutionize the industry and force theater owners to convert their screens.
As it turns out, the dude was actually the Nostradamus of the industry. And now, in this post-"Avatar" reality, he has quickly become the wise sage sitting on top of the mountain. Recently, we caught up with the King of the World and had to ask: Oh wise one, where do we go from here?
"Well, here's what's in discussion and it's not locked in yet," the writer/director revealed. "After the DVD release [of 'Avatar'], we're going to do a theatrical re-release toward the end of the summer, into September. Because there were a lot of people who still wanted to see the movie in IMAX 3-D that didn't get a chance to do it.
"We were still playing very strongly in 3-D theaters until a lot of our 3-D theaters went by contractual agreement to 'Alice in Wonderland,' " Cameron said of the unexpectedly still-massive momentum behind his highest-grossing film of all time. "So, we know people still want to have that theatrical experience. We actually think that the home experience and the theatrical experience can co-exist."
Read that last sentence again, and make sure you take a moment to process it. Over the last few years, a battle has been waged between studios, retailers and filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh over the rapidly diminishing window between theatrical and home-video release. Now, as "Avatar" comes to Blu-ray, Cameron is eager to use his clout to test the theory that people won't go see a movie in theaters if they can watch it on their home-entertainment systems.
"The colors are incredibly vivid; the strengths of the movie are still there: the composition, the camera work, the acting, the lighting, the action, the energy, the music," Cameron said of what makes a film like this perfect for viewing on any screen. "All of those things are the same; the only thing you don't have is the stereoscopic illusion. But what you get in place of that is when you're not looking through the glasses, everything is clearer, brighter and therefore more vivid in some ways. It's a trade space; you're trading one thing for another thing."
According to Cameron, future filmmakers could similarly embrace the differences between home and theatrical viewing, giving the audience two different-yet-similar experiences that they'd pay for more than once. Eventually, of course, 3-D will be in all our homes as well — another innovation Cameron is looking forward to. With filmmakers everywhere seeking out Cameron's advice, it seems like the future of filmmaking is as wondrous and unlimited as Pandora itself.