Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Avatar Case Study 6

6. How have audiences responded and reacted to the film?

  • Different demographics have responded differently to Avatar. The film has been most popular with males under 18, however it has been least popular with males over 45. The film is not suitable for some groups of people such as old people or very young children as the 3D effect can be overwhelming to them. As young people are generally more interested in new technology than older people, and men more than women, this explains why the film has been most popular with under 18 males.

  • In terms of accolades, Avatar has been nominated for nine Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, and four Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director.

  • Avatar has been very successful in the world Box Offices, already grossing over $1.04 billion from a $230 million budget. The film has remained at number 1 on the US Box Office charts since release, and in the UK has only been usurped for one week by the release of Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. (Avatar quickly regained the top spot the following week)

  • The movie scored an average IMDb rating of 8.7 and is currently at #31 on IMDb's list of Top 250 Movies of all time, rated by users. Here are some detailed rating statistics based on audience demographics.

  • Reviews of the film have been decidedly mixed. Many reviewers criticised the storyline, saying it lacked substance and orginality "I've complained that many recent films abandon story telling in their third acts and go for wall-to-wall action. Cameron essentially does that here..." however almost all praised the film as a revolutionary step in 3D technology. "Avatar" is not simply a [piece of] sensational entertainment, although it is that. It's a technical breakthrough" -

  • Many cinema-goers, when asked what they disliked about Avatar, said they were put off by the price of tickets. When I went to watch Avatar at the Islington Vue, tickets cost almost £10 each (including 3D glasses). For a teenager, this is a lot of money to pay for a film. And seeing as the primary target audience of Avatar is under 18s, this is a problem that was probably the cause of the defeat to the singing Chipmunks in the UK.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

JC 3D Interview

This interview is pretty amazing. Really in-depth explanation of the whole 3D thing...

Avatar Case Study 5

5. Who is the target audience and how have they been targeted in the UK?

  • The target audience consists of teenagers and young adults. The 12A certificate reflects this as it allows both target audiences to be able to watch the film in cinemas.

  • These audiences have been targeted mostly through the media, mainly using the internet. These age groups are more likely to use technology than those older or younger and so viral marketing for and the deal with LG and youtube are very effective as it reaches the target audience.

  • Computer games are mostly played by ages 10-30 so the release of Avatar: The Game resulted in more media attention for the film; it wa another way for 20th Century Fox to market the film and another product to sell to the film's target audience, therefore the products worked in synergy. The game was rated 12 (similarly to the film) and was released in the UK on 11th of December in the UK, 6 days before the film was released so the game could help to market the film. However, the plot of the game involves a different character and doesn't ruin the film.

  • Other audiences outside the target audience have been accessed through billboards on the streets in the UK, as well as in cinemas during adverts for other films. This works especially well since 20th Century Fox are also distributing for Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel, which has been released at the same time as Avatar. This means they are in direct competition but it also means that 20th Century Fox can advertise the two together and therefore have a wider reach for Avatar.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Avatar Case Study 4

4. Where and how is the film being exhibited in the UK?

  • The majority of showings are in 3D which will obviously enhance the special effects of the film and will make the audience feel part of the film. However, some cheaper showings are in 2D. Although this detracts from the film, the cinematic effects in 2D also work but not as well. The film was exhibited in 503 cinemas across the UK in its first week, although this declined to 485 cinemas by the second week. The most popular cinema in which to view Avatar has been the IMAX cinemas, where tickets to see the film have sold out almost instantly. This is due to its screens which are designed for 3D viewing and therefore works well with the film. This symbiotic relationship benefits both as the cinema acts as a vehicle for the film and both will make money as a result.

Avatar Case Study 3

3. How has the film been marketed to ensure it successfully reaches its target audience?

  • 20th Century Fox has used a viral marketing campaign in order to ensure Avatar successfully reaches its target audience. They have created a website,, which uses the idea of "recruiting" the users for a mission on Pandora. This allows the users to navigate the website easily, and helps the audience interact further with the film. The main advantage of this feature is that when users are "recruited", their details are added to a mailing list that sends them information and promotional offers regarding the film and related products. This allows 20th Century Fox to specifically target their audience (narrow-casting) and have a captive audience to market to in the future.

  • The official website contains reviews and trailers on the introduction page which provides fans information on the music in the film, the creatures of Pandora as well as screenshots.
  • Sites such as facebook, twitter and youtube were also used in the film's viral marketing campaign. This ensures the film reaches the young, internet-using generation of film-goers who are likely to also be interested in modern technologies such as 3D.

  • The official game is said to be far greater than those usually produced for the films that are simply looking to cash in on the success of the film. This game is seen as a prequel to the film where the player controls a human or the avatar. PS3 or Xbox 360 gamers can also play the game in 3D which will further allow them to be immersed in the experience. The game works well since the animated technology is similar to that of the film, whilst often the computer games that have been launched with films are of far poorer aesthetics than the film itself.

  • 20th Century Fox used star power to ensure the success of Avatar. The film is often referred to as 'James Cameron's Avatar' as opposed to simply 'Avatar'. This tells the audience that there is a famous, high-quality film director involved. Another common feature in advertisements is the phrase 'from the director of Titanic'. This links Avatar in with the success of Titanic, and introduces the film to the audience of Titanic as well as its own. Another example of the use of star power in the marketing of Avatar is the London Premiere of the film. Such prestigious names as Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver enabled the premiere to be a success. The main characters' faces were also included on some posters in order to further appeal to the film.

Avatar Case Study 2

2. How has the UK theatrical distribution of the film been managed in order to ensure the film's success in the UK?

  • The UK distributor of Avatar is 20th Century Fox, who have in the past distributed many successful films such as the Star Wars saga, When Harry Met Sally and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to name but a few. This shows that they are able to distribute a wide range of genres to a wide range of audiences.

  • As well as Avatar, 20th Century Fox are also currently responsible for the distribution of Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel. This enables them to market Avatar to a new audience and ensure greater success for both films. For instance, they may include an Avatar trailer before a showing of Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel. This is a prime example of synergy; two media products working together. Below is an example of the adverts for both films on the 20th Century Fox website.

  • The premiere for Avatar took place in Leicester Square in London. This shows that the UK market is being specifically targeted in the film's cinema release, and this move further ensures the film's success in the UK.
  • Many distribution deals were struck in the run-up the the launch of Avatar in order to ensure the film' UK success. Coca-Cola and LG were the two main companies involved in sponsorship deals with 20th Century Fox. LG have tied in the release of their new phone with the launch of Avatar, using popular website Youtube to advertise. This cross-media convergence involves users talking to the stars at the London premiere, the Youtube UK homepage will contain Avatar trailers and LG - Avatar themed videos available on the site. An LG marketing representative (Chang Ma) said "We are excited to be involved in a creative campaign on a scale never tried before which connects with the public like never before".

  • In order to combat piracy, 20th Century Fox decided to minimise the gap between the film's international releases. Avatar was released on the 17th December in the UK and on the 18th December in the USA. This made digital piracy much harder, as there was less time for the pirate films to be distributed. This also increased cinema ticket sales, as there was no alternative media through which to watch the film.

Avatar Case Study 1

1. How was the film produced to appeal to the audience?

  • Avatar was produced to be exhibited in 3D in order to heighten the film experience for the audience
  • It was designed to set a precedent for future films.
  • The film appealed to its audience partly because of the novelty of the advanced visual technology being exhibited. "He even invented the camera system with his engineers himself, called the Fusion system, and is expecting it to become the standard in the future." from Cameron said of Avatar,"If people see something they've never seen before and if they cannot imagine how it is done, it is compelling to them and people will come and see the movie just for the effects".
  • The cost of production, the length of time taken to produce it and the various methods used created hype surrounding the film.
  • 8 months of performance capture work meant the aliens seemed more realistic than any other film. This all paid off as it appealed to the audience and the experience felt more real as a result.
  • Another appeal to the audience was the promise of an interesting storyline. Cameron was determined not to let the film's advanced technology interfere with its plot. Cameron said "The idea was to have the stereoscopic technology, without it interfering with the film". He also mentioned in another interview "Before I decided to make a major movie in 3-D, I had to resolve to my own satisfaction that the 3-D would not degrade in any measurable way the 2-D viewing experience."