Filmmaking maverick James Cameron discusses more about creating the biggest motion picture of all-time – Avatar (now available in Extended Blu-ray & DVD Editions). ALSO NEW: Cats & Dogs, Kids Are All Right, Perry Mason, Mutiny On The Bounty and more.
The single disc of Avatar, released earlier this year, was only an inkling of bigger things to come from director, writer and producer James Cameron. The risk-taking filmmaker is finally unlocking his cinematic, mental vault filled with all the secrets of the fictional Pandora and taking fans of the hit film on a guided tour of his vision with the release of Avatar Extended Collector’s Edition (on Blu-ray and DVD). With three versions of the film, Avatar aficionados can experience an all-new extended cut of the film and hours of never-before-seen material including over 45 minutes of amazing deleted scenes.
"I told our team – let's do the ultimate box set of Avatar, with everything in it the fans could possibly want, Cameron said in a recent press statement, “ There's an extended length cut that's sixteen minutes longer, plus documentaries, behind the scenes featurettes, artwork and over 45 minutes of deleted scenes. Everything worth putting into a special edition is in this set.”.
The three-disc Avatar Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray and Theatrical Special Edition Re-Release DVD both feature the original theatrical release, a special edition re-release, a family audio track with all objectionable language removed and new collector’s extended cut with sixteen more minutes including a remarkable alternate opening "Earth" scene. Cameron's Oscar and Golden Globe-winning epic is the highest grossing film of all time, taking in over $2.7 billion in worldwide box office – seen by more than 310 million people across the globe.
Shortly after its release, filmmaker James Cameron (the mastermind behind such classics as Terminator and Titanic) sat down to talk about the technology and imagination that went behind the making of the Avatar.
James Cameron and Sam Worthington on the set of 'Avatar'
Having made Titanic – for the longest time the biggest money-making movie ever made – what kind of pressure did you feel before the actual theatrical opening of Avatar? Were you freaked out by the pressure or did you just ignore it? “I wish I could have. (laughs) Well, I couldn't ignore it. So, I thought, 'You’ve got to acknowledge it. You’ve got to know that there’s a big expectation.' First of all, Titanic and Avatar are chalk and cheese. They’re just two totally different movies. So right there, you can't no one could really compare them to each other. I suppose you can compare their box office performance, I guess. I mean, Titanic was, I think, an anomaly, in the sense that it somehow keyed into global emotion is such a way that made a ridiculous amount of money. You can't even try to compete – I don't think I try to compete with myself on that. But with Avatar, I was looking for something that was challenging enough to be interesting. I knew it would be a big, complex project that would hold my interest, as opposed to doing the deep ocean expeditions, which I loved. And, for a while, it looked like I had disappeared from making movies. To me, I didn't disappear.”
What were you doing? “I was just doing the crap that I really wanted to do. You know? And I could afford to do it after Titanic. And I did six deep ocean expeditions in that time. And it turns out, in retrospect, to look kind of like a master plan. Because learning how to build the 3D technology, learning how to work with 3D – over that time, we did a tremendous amount of 3D shooting, some of it in very rough conditions. So in a funny way, when I started the live-action shoot on Avatar, I knew exactly what to do. In fact, it was almost easy by comparison. I had six days of prep in New Zealand before we started shooting this movie. Six days. Normally, you’d prep for 60 or 90 days, in that situation. I had six days. And the reason was, because first of all, all the sets were already designed virtually in advance, and built from plans. And I was working on a virtual volume in LA, in virtual sets that were being built for real in New Zealand. So I walked in six days before, and I said, 'Okay. I’ve already, in a sense, done all these shots. I know the camera goes there, camera goes there, lights go out there.'”
Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana as they appear on Pandora in 'Avatar'
You actually scouted the sets and rehearsed on the Avatar sets – virtually? “I scattered around and rehearsed on the sets virtually, before we got there. So, in a way, the documentary films, in 3D, had prepped me for the live action shoots, so well, that we just started. It was just very smooth. And I had a good, proven team as a result of that. So in a way, I was building muscle to do the film. And, you know, Stan Winston said something very interesting when I first showed him the 3D footage. Not from Avatar, but right before that, from the documentaries. I said, 'Yeah, and I’m thinking about doing a 3D film. I’ll do something small to start out with, and build up.' He said, 'No, no, no. You do your biggest and your best idea.' He said, 'You do your Star Wars in this.' And Stan could be like that. He just was so crazily intuitive. You know, he was just like – boom, right to the idea. I thought, 'He’s right.'”
How did those diving experiences, and just your exploration of this world, really inform how you designed Pandora? “I saw a lot of stuff at the bottom of the ocean that influenced the designs.”
Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang on the set of 'Avatar'
Like what? “Well, you know, bio-luminescence. Not only in the deep ocean dives, but just diving around in a coral reef. The colors, the patterns. You know, sometimes something will exist this big, that we made much larger.”
With the preparation that you made and with all the design that you did beforehand, is Avatar the kind of movie that you actually had a sequence that was most challenging for you to achieve, or did you kind of cut that out, because you had pre-planned so much? “No, we didn't cut anything out because we couldn't do it, but there was one scene that did take us two years to figure out how to shoot. That’s the action finale – it involved characters in four different scales, all interacting with each other, all played by live performers. It was crazy, how hard it was. But, at least we knew it was the finale of the film, so it was worth our effort. And it’s a corker.”
James Cameron on the set of 'Avatar'
Did creating Avatar reinvigorate your love of filmmaking? “Yeah, I think so, because I think that there are so many possibilities now. I mean, I’ve always had fun pushing the envelope, kind of by design. 'Let’s get out there. Let’s get in front.' Maybe it’s my insecurity as a filmmaker, that I want to have all this stuff to show people and dazzle them, and all that. But it’s good. It’s a win-win deal, you know? Because I get turned on by the challenge of that, and the audiences get turned on by the results.”
What about an Avatar sequel? “We made money on this, so there’ll be another one. It’s pretty much that simple. I think we just have to get the time it takes to make one of these movies out. But that can be the next technical challenge, right? I mean, I think we know how to do it. Now, we’ve got to learn how to do it as a faster, easier pipeline. But you’ve got to remember, we had to create every damn thing you saw. Next time around, Jake exists, the interior exists and the forest exists. Things that we can now take for granted, and then build on that and go beyond it. And there’ll be other worlds in the subsequent films.”
Avatar Extended Collection’s Edition: 3-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Bonus Features: Original Theatrical Version; Special Edition Re-Release; Collector’s Extended Cut; 16 more minutes and exclusive alternate opening; Family Audio Track (All Objectionable Language Removed); “Capturing Avatar“ – documentary with James Cameron, Jon Landau and cast and crew; Deleted Scenes – over 45 minutes of new never-before-seen deleted scenes; Production Materials; “Pandora’s Box” – goes deeper into the filmmaker process; “Interactive Scene Deconstruction" -- he various stages of production through 3 different viewing modes; Production Shorts: 17 featurettes covering performance capture, scoring the film, 3D fusion camera, stunts and much more; “Avatar Archives” – includes original scriptment, 300 page screenplay and the extensive Pandorapedia and BD-live Portal with additional bonus materials.
Cats & Dogs: Revenge Of Kitty Galore Combo Pack
Directed by Brad Peyton and featuring the voices of the Divine Ms Bette Midler, Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, James Marsden and Nick Nolte, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is a wonderfully funny comedy for canine- and feline-lovers of all ages. A hilarious and witty satire of the world of spies and hi-tech espionage, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is packed with clever, hysterical dialogue and wild antics as cats and dogs team up for the first time in this blend of live action, state-of-the art puppetry and computer animation. In the eternal battle between cats and dogs, one crazed feline has just taken things a paw too far. Kitty Galore (Midler), a former elite agent for the spy organization MEOWS, has gone rogue. In 48 hours, she plans to unleash a diabolical device designed to not only bring her canine enemies to heel but take down her former kitty comrades and make the world her scratching post. Faced with this immediate and unprecedented threat, cats and dogs are forced to work together for the first time in history in an unlikely alliance to save themselves – and their beloved humans – from global cat-astrophe. It's time for the fur to fly. Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack Bonus Features: 3D Looney Tunes short; “Coyote Falls”; Sneak peek of the all-new Yogi Bear theatrical film; “Dog Dishing: Tails From the Bark Side of Hollywood” featurette; The best of the best Cat vs. Dog amimated showdowns and “Meow-takes:” Outtakes and gag reel and a Digital Copy of the film.
The Kids Are All Right
Academy Award nominees Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star in this funny, smart and vibrant portrait of the new, modern American family. Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) are your average suburban couple raising their two teens, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), in Southern California. But when the kids secretly track down their "donor dad," Paul (Mark Ruffalo), an unexpected new chapter begins for everyone as family ties are defined, re-defined and then re-re-defined. Directed and co-written by Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right has Oscar written all over it, particularly for the fine performances delivered by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening in one of the most poignant, funny and big-hearted comedies of the year. Bonus Features: “The Journey To Forming A Family,” “The Making Of” and “The Writer's Process” featurettes and Feature Commentary with director/co-writer Lisa Cholodenko.
Mutiny On The Bounty
Winner of the 1935 Academy Award for Best Picture, Mutiny On The Bounty, the mightiest adventure tale told on the high seas, sails across your screen in its Blu-ray debut. Celebrating the film’s 75th anniversary, the disc comes encased in a collectible bonus Digibook that boasts more than 30 pages filled with photos from the archives of FrankLloydFilms.com, which depict dramatic imagery from the film and rare insight into the production of the movie. Directed by Frank Lloyd, winner of two Academy Awards for Best Director for Cavalcade (1933) and The Divine Lady (1930), Mutiny On The Bounty stars the “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable, as First Officer Fletcher Christian and Charles Laughton as Captain William Bligh. Adapted from the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, Mutiny On The Bounty has been especially remastered in honor of its 75th anniversary, having undergone a full photochemical restoration sourced from the film long-thought-lost and recently rediscovered original nitrate camera negative. The film's audio track has also been restored for this presentation, resulting in a stellar opportunity to experience this classic as never before. For a look at several of the classic scenes from Mutiny On The Bounty, click to the film's Official Site at www.warnerblu.comBonus Features: Vintage Featurette “Pitcairn Island Today”; Academy Awards Newsreel and the Theatrical Trailers of the 1935 and 1962 versions.
Vivendi/The Weinstein Company
From director Lau Kar-Leung (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) comes the Shaw Brothers' thrilling origin story of the highly effective and dangerous Mantis Fist Kung Fu. Full of non-stop action and spectacular Kung Fu, Shaolin Mantis stars Kung Fu cinema legends David Chiang (One Armed Swordsman) and Liu Chia Hui (Kill Bill 1 & 2, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin) in this exciting story that focuses on a deadly new form of fighting – Mantis Fist..Shaolin Mantis begins when Wai Fung (Chiang) – who is seeking revenge for his wife's murder – is sent to infiltrate the Tien family to gather evidence of their rebellion against the king. Soon discovered as a spy, Fung is soundly defeated by the evil Tien brothers and ejected from the house. Retreating to the wilderness after his devastating loss, Fung observes the delicate and intricate movements of a praying mantis. Finding inspiration from the insect, he develops the deadly Mantis Fist Kung Fu and returns to seek vengeance on his enemies. Featuring mesmerizing fight scenes and compelling drama, the newest Dragon Dynasty installment instantly emerges as one of the Kung Fu genre's very best.
Perry Mason: Season 5, Volume 2
Initially conceived in the books of Erle Stanley Gardner, Perry Mason was an ingenious criminal defense lawyer able to solve the most difficult of cases with his incredible courtroom prowess. Former big screen legend Raymond Burr brought the character to life in the classic 1950s-60s television series with his dazzling, award-winning performances. A prime time and critical hit, Perry Mason (which also won a slew of awards), would set the standard for such courtroom dramas as Law & Order and L.A. Law. Burr, and his alter-ego, Perry Mason, return with the final 15 episodes from Season Five (1962), digitally remastered on four discs. With its riveting murder cases and courtroom confessions, the fifth season finds the celebrated attorney defending his clients against prosecutor Hamilton Burger (William Talman) and the inquisitive Lt. Arthur Tragg (Ray Collins). Co-starring Barbara Hale as Mason's long-time secretary Della Street, the show also features William Hopper as Paul Drake, Perry's wisecracking but clever eye. (Only on DVD)
In one of his most legendary roles of his stellar career, Lee Marvin portrayed the iconic Monte Walsh – an aging cowboy facing the ending days of the Wild West era. As barbed wire and railways steadily eliminate the need for the cowboy, Monte and his friends are left with fewer and fewer options. New work opportunities are available to them, but the freedom of the open prairie is what they long for. Directed by William A. Fraker – and also starring Jack Palance, Mitchell Ryan, Jeanne Moreau, Jim Davis and Michael Conrad – Monte Walsh is a stunning, unforgettable homage to the fading days of the Old West and the men and women who must all say goodbye to the lives they knew, and try to make a new start. A must have to fans of Western and the unmatchable talents of Lee Marvin and Jack Palance. (Only on DVD).
Superman/Shazam The Return Of Black Adam
A series of animated shorts featuring characters from the celebrated DC Comics vault, the DC Showcase Original Shorts Collection, the first quartet of animated adventures featuring the never-before-seen Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam. The 10- to 12-minute films include The Spectre, Jonah Hex and Green Arrow. All three titles will be presented in extended formats along with the first-ever release of Superman/Shazam. In Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam, Clark Kent’s latest interview subject is street kid Billy Batson. What Clark doesn’t know is that Billy is more than a feisty kid with a lot of heart – he has been chosen by an ancient wizard to represent the good of man as the World’s Mightiest Mortal just by invoking the name of the wizard, "Shazam!" Billy's powers come none-too-soon, as he also discovers he's being pursued by a centuries' old, murderous villain, Black Adam – a foe so powerful, even Superman can’t stop him alone. The all-star voice cast of Superman/Shazam! The Return of Black Adam features Jerry O’Connel, George Newbern, Arnold Vosloo and James Garner.. Blu-ray Bonus Features.:Four animation shorts; Four additional bonus TV episodes handpicked by Bruce Timm; Commentaries by renowned writers Steve Niles, Joe Lansdale, Greg Weisman and Michael Jelenic and a Digital copy online of the shorts. For a look at Superman/Shazam and other DC Comics titles, visit the Official Site at www.warnerblu.com
Hip-hop music star Bow Wow plays Kevin Carson, just another ordinary young man living in the projects until he strikes it gold to the tune of $370 million by winning the lottery. The bad news is the lottery claim office is closed for the long Fourth of July weekend, so Kevin must try his best to keep a low profile and survive the three days before he can collect his prize. As word of the magic ticket spreads, he has to survive a three-day weekend after his opportunistic neighbors find out he's holding the winning lottery ticket.. Kevin quickly discovers the good, the bad and the ugly in his closest friends and neighbors. Gradually, Kevin starts to realize the power he holds in his hands and what his winning ticket could mean to him, his future and the community. This urban comedy is the directorial debut of videoclip maker Erik White and also stars Brandon T. Davis, Keith David, Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Bill Bellamy, Mike Epps and T-Pain. Blu-ray Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes; “Lottery Ticket: Custom Kicks,” “Junior's Guide to the Corner Store,” “Everybody's In: Casting the Lottery Ticket” and “The Du-Rag Model” featurettes. Check out the Lottery Ticket Official Site at www.warnerblu.com
The Extra Man
A sophisticated and moving comedy starring Academy Award winner Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) and Paul Dano and written and directed by Shari Springer Berman, The Extra Man is the ultimate and timeless New York story. Louis Ives (Dano) heads to New York City following an embarrassing incident that forces him to leave his job. He rents a room in the apartment of Henry Harrison (Kline), a penniless, wildly eccentric playwright. Additionally, he accepts a position with an environmental magazine, where he encounters green-obsessed co-worker Mary (Katie Holmes). But it's Louis' new home with Henry that really sparks his imagination. Developing a mentor/apprentice relationship, Henry exposes Louis to the duties of an “extra man,” a social escort for wealthy widows. Blu-ray Bonus Features: Deleted Scenes; Cartoon Clip Voiceover Recording; Behind-The-Scenes Score Footage; HDNet: “A Look at The Extra Man” featurette; Commentary with Kevin Kline and Jonathan Ames and Commentary with Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcine, Lisa Collins and Crew.
The GunslingersThe Gunslingers is a classic spaghetti western meets a modern graphic novel come to life. An official selection of the Trail Dance Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival and the DeadCENTER Film Festival, The Gunslingers features an all-star, ensemble cast including Mark Hanson, Abel Becerra, John Elliott, Ben Hall and Brad Allen, and tells the tale of Butch (Elliott), a gunslinging bounty hunter whose luck may have changed. Butch gets caught up in a violently competitive hunt for a stash of gold when outlaws find out about his mysterious map. While trying to get paid, he must saddle up to stop these outlaws and collect what's his. He wields his gun-slinging ways to stop anyone who gets in his path. Bullets fly as guns are drawn and fights break out – anyone who stands in Butch's way will be killed.(Only on DVD) Bonus Features: Storyboard-To-Screen Comparison; Alternate Opening; “Behind The Green Screen: Shooting The Cave Sequence” featurette and Trailer Gallery.
NOW AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY:
Vivendi/The Weinstein Company
Every seven years, thirty of the world’s most deadly assassins face off against one another for an outrageous cash prize. There’s only one rule: kill or die. As dozens of wealthy gamblers watch via closed-circuit TV, a city is overrun by brutal assassins – all aiming to be the last one standing. Starring Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible trilogy), Kelly Hu (X2: X-Men United) and Robert Carlyle (Stargate: Universe), The Tournament is an explosive, action-loaded thriller where the winner takes all.
Vivendi/The Weinstein Company
The Hunting Party
Inspired by true events, The Hunting Party stars Richard Gere and Terrence Howard as vacationing journalists who try to track down a missing war criminal in one of Eastern Europe’s deadliest regions. What begins as an impulsive reporting adventure immediately turns dangerous, as hostile locals, shady underworld figures and a case of mistaken identity put them squarely in their target’s cross hairs. Amid the bullets and bombs, they discover that getting the scoop is one thing – getting out alive is something else entirely. Blu-ray Bonus Features: Commentary By Writer/Director Richard Shepard; Deleted Scenes With Optional Director Commentary; “Making The Hunting Party” featurette; “The Real Hunting Party:” Writer/Director Richard Shepard Interviews The Journalists Featured In The Original Esquire Article and “What I Did On My Summer Vacation,” The Original Esquire Article By Scott Anderson