James Cameron: It is a 'historical moment' to release 'Avatar' in China

By Pang Li
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China.org.cn, December 25, 2009
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Hollywood director James Cameron said it was "an exciting historical moment" to release his latest movie, "Avatar," in China at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. He described efforts to release the film as "unprecedented," citing 100 new 3-D screens that China has added in the last five weeks.

James Cameron talks about 'Avatar' in Beijing.

James Cameron talks about "Avatar" in Beijing. [CFP]

"Avatar," which premiered in London earlier this month and has been released in countries around the world, will hit Chinese theaters January 4, 2010, as the first foreign film of the year.

As a top-grossing director, Cameron also is known for being a technology buff. Since coming up with the idea for "Avatar" more than a decade ago, he has spent most of his time improving cutting-edge technologies to make the movie.

"We started making the film in 2005," Cameron said. "It took two years' technical research and development before we even began to work with the actors to create the process."

In order to make the movie, Cameron said he needed technologies that could capture an actor's facial movements that can be put into the CG characters without losing emotion. He added that technologies used in "Avatar" are expected to become a part of mainstream filmmaking in five years. They would be tools added to a "giant pool of tools" available to filmmakers, he said.

Weng Li, vice manager of China Film Group (CFG), which is in charge of importing and releasing "Avatar" in China, said the movie can take audiences to another world.

"I think the movie's outstanding contribution is its overhaul of traditional movie-viewing concepts," Weng said, adding that the touching story and high-tech visuals will bring audiences back to theaters.

Even with the new technologies, Cameron said the story remained the core of his movie.

"No matter how good the visual effects are, no matter how beautiful is that you create, no matter the visual journey you take the audience on, you have to take them on an emotional journey," Cameron said. "It is not about the movie, it is about the hearts."

James Cameron with Chinese fans

James Cameron with Chinese fans [CFP]

Like his previous blockbuster "Titanic," "Avatar" tells a love story, which this time transcends cultures and species. Cameron said he wants his movie to open people's eyes to see each other through cultural differences and to respect each other's culture. Moreover, Cameron said he wants "to excite audiences to see movies in theaters" and "rekindle the cinematic experience."

CFG gave a very high opinion of the movie and expressed confidence in its future box office success. Weng said he expects Avatar to set a new record. It opened at No. 1 in every country where it was released and raked in nearly US$300 million worldwide in the four days starting from December 18. The movie cost about US$200 million to make.

Yuan Wenqiang, manager of CFG, said "Avatar" is the right kind of movie that the market has been expecting. He said the movie will be shown in both the original English version and dubbed Chinese version. It will be presented in regular 2-D, 3-D, IMAX 2-D and IMAX 3-D.

Cameron said he took a great risk to make this movie, and he hopes to encourage filmmakers to tell stories from their hearts and dazzle audiences.

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