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avatar clip still.jpg

Avatar's Marketing Strategy Is Genius

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | November 24, 2009 |

By Miscellaneous | Miscellaneous | November 24, 2009 |

Forget that new, technologically advanced interactive trailer for Avatar. The real genius behind the film’s marketing has nothing to do with neat gimmicks (or not so neat, as many have noted) that reveal way too much about the plot. The main reason that everybody and their mom is going to see James Cameron’s latest blockbuster is because everybody and their mom thinks it looks like shit.

In an interview with CNN, Cameron admits his relief at the negative reactions to the Avatar trailers and such. “If everybody was embracing the film before the fact, the film could never live up to that expectation,” he said. “If everybody was just sort of praising it too much right now, that would make me even more nervous.”

Why would he feel this way? Maybe because he knows Avatar isn’t really all that. Or, just maybe he understands the power of low expectations. We saw it before, albeit accidentally, with the Star Wars prequels. I bet you legitimately think they got better with each installment. Nah, they just seemed better because with each one you had lowered expectations. And now next month you’re going to be impressed by Avatar because you anticipate a disaster.

But how does Cameron know that we’re going to see his movie despite our presumptions that it’s going to suck ass? Because he knows he’s James Cameron, King of the World, and he knows everyone wants to see what the director of Aliens, Terminator 2, and even Titanic has to show us after 10 years. It’s a bit egotistical on his part, but it’s the truth. And you can’t honestly deny your curiosity. You’ll be there opening weekend because you don’t want to believe Avatar is derivative, Delgo-rific garbage.

Every one of the following people criticizing ING’s new Avatar clip (and other hype machinery) can’t wait to see the movie. Many of them will get to see it for free, but whatever. They could stay home and watch Lawrence of Arabia instead.

  • Lane Brown at Vulture:
    Today CNN has an interview with Avatar director James Cameron in which [he] addresses the mostly negative reaction to his movie’s trailer […] We have some more good news for Cameron: IGN posted a brand-new Avatar clip today, and those blue things still look totally stupid to us.
  • Rob Bricken at Topless Robot:
    IGN has a new three-minute clip from Avatar, and I’m posting it because I feel I ought to, even though I don’t have anything praiseworthy or brilliantly cruel to say. It’s beautiful CG animation wasted on very stupid looking aliens. We know already. Whatever.
  • Vince Mancini at FilmDrunk:
    The scene is basically the Captain Kirk vs. the butthole monster scene from the Star Trek movie if you mashed it with Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.  Speaking of which, I think I speak for everyone when I say that Thanadors would be a lot cooler if they could sing songs in the voice of Tone Löc.  If only he was still alive.
  • Devin Faraci at
    Hey remember the Core chase in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace? That was what came to mind while watching the below clip from Avatar. At least that’s what came to mind when I saw this clip at Comic Con a number of months ago. It isn’t the mechanics of the Core chase that I’m reminded of — Star Trek’s ice planet chase was much more reminiscent of that — but rather the weightlessness of the action. Pixels chasing pixels through a pixel world.
  • The Playlist:
    One technical achievement the director is proud of is actually quite sad. “Even when we were doing “Titanic” twelve years ago, the shot at the bow where [Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet] kiss, we waited two weeks for the right sunset to get that shot. Now we just shoot it in front of a green screen and choose the right sunset later.”

    Geez, if that’s not a sad pullquote for the state of soulless cinema, we’re not sure what is.

  • Richard Rushfield at Defamer:
    Well, perhaps it will all look a lot better in 3D, but in the meantime, we should all strap in and prepare for what could well turn out to be the worst movie you have ever felt obliged to see.
  • Matt Goldberg at Collider:
    I don’t want to ward you off seeing footage from Avatar but I’m not exactly sure why Fox decided to put this new clip of a Thandor chasing down Jake Sully’s avatar (Sam Worthington) online when it’s clearly a big set piece that deserves to be seen in theaters and IMAX where you can really appreciate the craft and the dynamic sound design.

Answer: Fox did it to maintain our low expectation. Did it work?

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