Monday, August 24, 2009

'Avatar' Hype Continues As Trailer Breaks Record

Whether you loved it or loathed it, freaked out or rolled your eyes, you certainly tuned in: The teaser trailer for James Cameron's "Avatar" became the biggest debut for ever, shattering the previous record (1.7 million) by over 2 million streams.

Debuting on Thursday, the trailer notched over 4 million views on Apple in its first day online, according to a press release from Fox. By Friday, the footage of the sci-fi epic — replete with towering blue aliens, interspecies warfare and visual effects that Cameron and his team dreamed up almost 15 years ago — had been released widely on the Web, surely logging millions of more views.

Friday became known as "Avatar" Day, as Fox screened 15 minutes of movie footage for free in IMAX 3-D theaters around the country. According to the press release, reservations for the two showings were fully booked.

For the movie, which required four years of production time and reportedly cost over $200 million to complete, Cameron revolutionized two filmmaking technologies: digital 3-D and e-motion capture (small cameras are attached to an actor's head to record his or her facial movements).

With such a big budget and so much hype surrounding the film's release on December 18, it remained an open question whether "Avatar" could possibly fulfill expectations. While reactions to the trailer were mixed — and surely some of that has to do with watching footage on a computer screen instead of in an IMAX 3-D theater — the huge Apple debut proves that audiences are captivated by the idea of the film. But will that interest continue for another couple months? Will the hype hold up? Cameron thinks so.

"I think all those questions about 'Can they do it?' 'Will it live up?' — that's going to be set by the wayside," the director told MTV News shortly before screening footage at Comic-Con in July. "So now, in a way, you're free to enjoy the world and enjoy the ride. That's why I don't mind showing stuff at this stage."

Check out everything we've got on "Avatar."

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