Arts & Entertainment

Oscar winner: Don’t judge ‘Avatar’ sequel’s success on box-office take

Los Angeles, Dec 15 (EFE).- “Avatar: The Way of Water” is being released this weekend in the United States amid a shroud of secrecy aimed at keeping anticipation for the film at a fever pitch.

For months, director James Cameron has striven to prevent the slightest detail about that epic science fiction picture from slipping through the cracks, a Herculean task in an age where leaks and misinformation surrounding new releases are commonplace on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Michael L. Fink, who served as a visual effects supervisor on the 2009 blockbuster “Avatar,” told Efe in an interview that he knows very little about the new film despite all of his contacts in Hollywood.

“I don’t know. I know very little about it. I have friends who work on the movie and they are like this (making a gesture to show their lips are sealed),” he said. “They don’t say a word to me.”

Although sky-high expectations surround the sequel, Fink cautioned that the nearly $3 billion in accumulated worldwide gross achieved by the original is probably not within reach.

The co-recipient of the 2008 Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for “The Golden Compass,” a film that combined live action, animation and visual effects in nearly every cut, said he is certain that movie-goers will enjoy this latest installment.

Even so, he added that the coronavirus has led a significant chunk of the population to permanently avoid movie theaters altogether.

The general decline in movie theater attendance, the one-year delay in the sequel’s premiere and its enormous budget have combined to create an atmosphere of tension around the film, with all eyes of its producers and much of the media centered on its theatrical box-office earnings.

Estimates are that “Avatar: The Way of Water” needs to achieve worldwide gross of at least $2 billion just to break even, since production costs alone (before marketing) totaled some $400 million.

Fink, who is now focused on his duties as professor of cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, reflected during the interview on his work with Cameron.

“Working with Jim Cameron is exciting. He is very clear about what he wants to see,” said the visual effects veteran, whose film credits also include other acclaimed pictures such as “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Life of Pi” (2012).

“He can draw like an angel so … if he really wants to see something a certain way he’ll draw you a picture of what it needs to look like. There were previous films he directed where he actually stepped in and completed some of the map paintings himself because he was unhappy with where the map painter was getting in that particular show.”

Fink also hailed Cameron as a visionary for his decision to go all-in on 3D for “Avatar” despite numerous regrettable experiences with that technology in the past.

“It was so incredibly impressive. And of course what it did is it launched the rebirth of 3D as a viable film medium. This movie is on its way to making $3 billion at the box office. Not bad,” Fink said.

He also praised Cameron’s decision to combine the use of characters played by real actors (who only appear in a third of the film) with other computer-generated ones in “Avatar.”

That employment of advanced CGI technology, according to Fink, gave a “historic” quality to the dispute between human beings and the Na’vi – an indigenous species with blue-striped skin that are up to 10 feet tall and live on Pandora, a habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri A star system.

Fink, who remains in the dark about most aspects of the sequel despite having worked side-by-side with Cameron in “Avatar,” said he does know that the most cutting-edge technology in the film industry was used. EFE


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