I'm looking forward to James Cameron's game-changing 3D epic Avatar, due in theaters Dec. 18, as much as anybody. But there's something a little desperate about the decision by Cameron and distributor 20th Century Fox to screen 16 minutes of footage for free in IMAX 3D theaters on Friday, Aug. 21.
Studios periodically invite journalists to see highlight reels from upcoming films they're high on. But it is very unusual, if not unprecendented, for a studio to invite the general public to one of these extended previews. Fox is apparently going to do everything they can to recoup their $240 million Avatar investment, and the fact they are so eager to share the movie before it's even finished suggests Cameron has hit another home run.
Regardless, I personally won't be checking out the Avatar footage, because you only get one shot at seeing a movie for the first time, and I want to preserve the purity of my viewing experience. Cameron has been working on this movie for 14 years and promises we've never seen anything like it. I can wait another four months for that.
No word yet on whether any of the South Florida IMAX screens will be getting the extended preview, which will be shown twice, at 6 and 6:30 p.m. You'll need a ticket, which will be available (along with a list of participating IMAX locations) on a first-come first-serve basis at www.avatarmovie.com beginning Monday. The film's normal trailer will also be released Aug. 21 to theaters and the Internet, so you can always opt to just watch that and save the rest of Avatar for when the movie is finished..