Shattering all kinds of box office records, taking home a slew of Academy Awards, and introducing new technology and a vibrant new world, Avatar has officially secured its place in pop culture lore as the biggest motion picture of all time. So, why then is the popular film returning to theaters on August 27th?

Avatar's" Na'vi Princess - Neytiri

According to 20th Century Fox, the return is due largely to the March 5th release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which cut Avatar’s run short because of contractual obligations and limitations placed on theatrical distribution.

In an effort to make up for lost revenue, Avatar: Special Edition will make a limited appearance in digital 3-D and IMAX 3-D this month and feature nine additional minutes of new creatures and action scenes. Specifically, The Death of Tsu’tey, Hunting the Sturmbeest, Na’vi Uprising, and lots of bioluminescent forests, Na’vi, and never before seen animals like the stingbat.

Said Cameron, “The thing that people need to understand here is that this is coming from the fans.” They said, “We’d like to spend more time on Pandora.”

While that may be partially true, you can bet that the impetus has everything to do with the bottom line, i.e. 20th Century Fox would like “audiences” to spend more time and money on Pandora. After all, how many films have been re-released in less than 8 months after their initial run? None, unless the studio decides on a whim to give us a second look at Tooth Fairy, Miss March, and All About Steve with never before seen footage.

Much like George Lucas’ continual tinkering with Star Wars to milk the franchise, you can bet James Cameron will continue to tweak and add to Avatar until audiences get blue in the face. The original release, the special edition, director’s cut, extended edition, box set, 3D home release, etc. Maybe even a Na’vi party edition? One can only hope.

As James Cameron works feverishly on his sequels and prequels, Avatar: Special Edition will be in theaters for a short time next week. And for those willing to spend another 170 minutes on Pandora, I say ulte Eywa ngahu (may Eywa be with you).
-Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”


P.S. For more on the future of Avatar, be sure to check out my cover story in MovieMaker Magazine on newsstands today. It’s called “The Avatar Effect” and includes a special interview with Academy Award winning producer, Jon Landau.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) rocks!

This Week’s Picks:

  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – In order to win his new girlfriend’s heart, Scott Pilgrim must defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Starring Michael Cera and directed by Edgar Wright whose wit and humor brought Shaun of the Dead to life, Scott Pilgrim plays out like a live action version of the comic – fast, funny, and full of imagination. Not to mention some interesting cameos and casting choices. With a mighty kablam!, the film is visually dynamic and infectious fun for the adolescent comic book junkie slash video gamer in all of us.
  • Get Low – Inspired by the true story of Felix “Bush” Breazeale, who garnered national attention for throwing a living funeral party, Get Low is a spirited affair with strong performances from Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek, and Lucas Black. Part mystery, part romance, and part drama, the pleasure in this film is watching Duvall and Murray work – masters of their craft, taking on characters we feel like we know, and yet, are still pleasantly enthralled. Sifting through facts and fiction, reality and folk tales, this is one charming slice of Americana.


Hubble Space Telescope

Film Event on the Radar:

  • HubbleDenver Museum of Nature & Science Phipps IMAX Theater. During the previews for Avatar last December, you may recall seeing a trailer for this gem – an account of the Hubble Space Telescope, one of most important scientific inventions in recent times allowing astronomers the opportunity to explore the history of the universe. The film gives viewers a first-hand look at the HST’s rollout and implementation, the challenges and setbacks, and the discoveries that changed the way we view the universe and ourselves. Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and captured in brilliant IMAX color and magnitude, you’ll feel like you’re floating in space as one of the astronauts making repairs. From Sirius to the Orion Nebula to Andromeda and beyond, the breathtaking views from Hubble are the closest most of us will ever get to outer space.

NOTE: You’ll need to catch it this weekend at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science as the Phipps IMAX theater will be closed from August 23rd through October 7th to renovate and upgrade to IMAX 3D.

Buy Tickets at the Denver Museum of Science & Nature