Avatar to be Re-Released? STOP THE MADNESS!

Posted on 12 March 2010 by Quaid

Up until now I was on the fence, but today’s news made it official.  We’ve gone too far.

James Cameron’s latest opus, Avatar, has grossed over $2.6 billion dollars worldwide.  It’s the most successful film in the history of successful films.  The studio has got to be pleased as punch, right?  Well, kinda.

Seems those greedy bastards are whining about Alice in Wonderland taking away a bunch of Avatar‘s 3D screens this past weekend…as if the blue-people-extravaganze didn’t have four months to clean up at the box-office.

But don’t worry…the powers that be have a fix.  They hope to re-release the film sometime this fall, complete with extra footage.

Now, we at MovieChopShop have made no bones about the fact that we’re not the biggest supporters of Avatar.  While I liked it (but found it fairly standard), Shep and Hans downright loathed the film.  We all agree, though, that it is a visual masterpiece.

But I’m going to try and keep my biases and film-criticism self out of this article.  The problem I have with the re-release isn’t the content but the trend it’s completing.

It used to be that a studio released a movie in theaters.  It finished a long run at the cinemas, then, after a very long gap, got released on video.

That’s all changed.  Now a movie is in theaters for what feels like a blink of an eye, and then it gets released on home video almost immediately.  AND most “event” movies get a “special edition,” “director’s cut,” or “extended edition.”

While nobody will argue that “extended editions” aren’t cool–the Bladerunner director’s and final cuts are the only way that film works–the gimmick is overblown.  When silly comedies get an “unrated” cut and pieces of universally trashed garbage are released on “special edition” three-disc collections, the “extended cut” movement has shifted focus from presenting a director’s true vision to throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks…in order to make a quick buck.

And it’s worked for a long time.  I’m guilty of grabbing the “unrated” cut of a movie, too.  But the gimmick is wearing thin.

At this point, directors are shooting extra footage they know they don’t need or can’t include in the theatrical cut of the film just to put on the DVD.  That hurts my soul.  I love the idea of a theatrical film being the director’s best shot at a completed, artistic whole.  When it serves as just a precursor to the “really good stuff” in the DVD release, the whole process of filmmaking loses a little credibility, and the movie becomes nothing more than a product.  I know this is the reality of big-budget cinema, but I don’t have to like it.  And in the past ten years, it’s gotten worse.

Now there is a new trend emerging…that of releasing multiple versions of a movie in the theater.  Michael Bay’s Transformers 2 got an IMAX release with additional footage from the “normal” theatrical release.  Other movies like the Harry Potter films and even The Dark Knight had either 3D or full-rez IMAX sequences you couldn’t see in traditional theaters.  Now, I’m not saying this is in-and-of-itself a bad thing.  I loved watching Batman fight bad guys in glorious 70mm, but the trend, itself, is troubling.

Now, Avatar is hoping to take this madness one step farther, releasing its “extended edition” in theaters less than a year after its original release, and AFTER the DVD release of the film.  If this continues, will we see Iron Man and Spider-Man gain multiple theatrical releases?  Will directors be expected to shoot additional footage for not just DVD special features but for possible additional theatrical releases as well?

More importantly, will big studios hold back the most complete cut of a film just so they can re-release a “better” version later and make a quick buck?

I know all of this is a way for studios to “think outside the box” about how to recoup cash on films that are costing significantly more and more money every year.  Me, though, I think the answer is to make sure the quality of stories and characters in your film is above and beyond the normal “product” saturating the market.  Make your ONE COMPLETE MOVIE the best it can possibly be, stand behind it as the best version of the movie, and market the hell out of it.

But that’s hard…so why not just throw in fifteen minutes of unnecessary drivel and release an additional theatrical and DVD release of the film.  That way you can move your grosses from $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion.

Which gives you enough new cash to finance the next Chipmunks movie, complete with its 3D, extended, director’s, and ultimate cuts.  Coming soon to a theater near you.

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Categorized | Commentary, News

17 Comments For This Post

  1. Peter Says:

    While I agree with your stance about some of the gold-digging strategies employed by studios, I think your argument is a bit misdirected when it comes to Avatar. The fact is, many movie theaters didn’t even want to dump Avatar for Alice (because the longer a film is in theaters, the higher the percentage of sales the theaters keep) but were contractually obliged to. Avatar was nowhere near to exhausting its demand, having an almost 20 million dollar seven day period leading up to Alice’s release. Regardless of your opinions about the film, people want this product, and it only makes sense that the studio provides it to them (new footage or not).

  2. CL Says:

    BS like this is why I became a Wingman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBXOwWC48PM&fmt=22 Artemis Eternal. Maybe you guys should check out the project…..I don’t see it mentioned on your site so assuming maybe you weren’t aware. As a filmophile these corporate shenanigans used to piss me off, but now I don’t stress because I’m helping create production and film that is the opposite of the things that annoy me. Word to the wise…..It’s a good community for anyone who doesn’t want to just be an armchair director.

  3. E Says:

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. A movie is a product, always has been. It’s a product that others can view, even if it is a noir film that makes $0. Also, you are implying that directors don’t do their best when they put out a movie, that’s disrepectful. And as for throwing 15 more minutes? Do you realize how long movies are already? I would rather watch a short good movie, and if I like it, have the option of buying the longer version later on.

  4. Quaid Says:

    Peter–I’m all for any movie theater doing whatever they want. If they want to put Avatar back in their IMAX theater when Alice is done, awesome. Go for it. My problem is the structured re-release so close to the original release AND the “additional footage” gimmick. I have a problem (personally) with this “multiple cuts” trend moving from DVD to theaters.

    CL–More power to you. I am actually a videographer and producer by day, and I make shorts and features whenever possible. I absolutely agree that it’s important, if you aren’t happy with the stuff Hollywood is putting out, to offer an alternative. Plus I just love making movies :)

    E–I absolutely will not buy it. I understand that with movies costing so much that budgetary and business concerns are important. But somehow Kubrick was able to make his unmarketable movies. As a filmmaker (albeit at a very small scale) myself, I think it’s important to make sure that the joy and art of storytelling come first. IF a director is changing the cut(s) of a film for PURELY financial reasons (not sure that’s the case here as Cameron has yet to speak on the matter), then yes, I think I’m justified in saying that is a bad thing.

    As for everyone who is saying “it’s a product, and this isn’t a big deal,” I really can see your point. But I sincerely care about movies, deeply. I try to (and sometimes fail to) avoid becoming a cynical critic and still enjoy the magic of movies. I also have deep respect for the people whose passion it is to tell great stories with film, and to say that a studio’s actions to push a specific Hollywood trend are “not a big deal” is disrespecting a whole slew of artists who really do care about the final product. I will always argue that it is and should be the talented artists and craftsmen and women who drive the industry.

    Not trying to rant or get angry….just love the feedback and want to clarify a few points that I left a bit muddy. Regardless of whether you agree with me, I hope we can still be friends. :)


  5. utfutfyt Says:

    Hey, if it has a fuller sex scene, I’ll buy the newer version.

  6. YESmagie Says:

    Holy shit I didn’t know they were rereleasing it! I can’t wait to see it ahaaahahahaajahaha!!!!

  7. Anon Says:

    Um…don’t go to see it again. Problem solved?

  8. Chad Says:

    Want some cheese to go with that whine? Anon (and others) are right, stay at home if you don’t want to go see it.

  9. FU Quaid Says:

    HAHAHA QUAID, you have been owned. quit your crying.

  10. Bubba Says:

    Hey if they want to release extended re-releases of these types of movies in theaters all the power to them–these are obviously for fans of the films who want more backstory, details, etc. Most people are not going to feel ripped off by the standard cut because they don’t want to sit through all the extra fluff that fanboys love… in the case of Avatar and other true 3d films re-releases make even more sense because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself or most other people dropping five grand on a nice enough home 3d system to do the movie justice any time soon.

  11. MovieFan112133250 Says:

    Well, in this particular case I agree with you. Avatar was 45 minutes too long to begin with. But sometimes director’s cuts and such make sense. The Lord of the Rings movies are good examples. The extended editions where awesome, but I can see how a 3 1/2 hour movie wouldn’t exactly fly in the theaters. And all this unrated nonsense, a lot of it is material cut from the director’s “vision” to meet a specific rating, like PG-13, so be careful where you point that finger. And if “unrated” just means throw in a extra pair of tits, the film probably didn’t have much artistic merit to begin with.

  12. v Says:

    Did they cut off the last 30 minutes? I’d buy that.

  13. Ric Says:

    Your whole argument is crap. It would actually hold some weight if what we were talkign about was a conventional ‘film’ Its not! Avatar is an experience contrary to what you critics may believe. Thats why people kept going and going again (me included) Its a ride, unquestionably! Anyone who saw it for one understood that. Disney is green in his grave with envy! He wishes he saw the evolution of film like Cameron has. Hell, I bet universal studios has gone ‘Oh Shit’ whats this going to do to our business! have a little vision will ya. And yes I will go at least a third time whenever they decide to re-release. Count me in!

  14. Brian Says:

    I agree 100% with what your saying, doesnt matter if its “Da greetst flim evar” or “LOLZ Awsum”, its becoming a massive cash cow for them to constantly re-release stuff. Lucas started the trend, we all thought the special editions were a great idea, it had been 20 years after all, but then came another one and another one, now even he’s talking about 3D versions. I’m also guilty of buying the super duper ultimate special editions of things, (Sin City & Blade Runner being the 2 I welcomed) but the recent multi release of Watchmen within weeks of each other reaaaaallly took the biscuit “Oh sh*t we forgot to include the footage of that guy scratching his balls, heres the super final cut… last one we swear”. And every second horror and comedy film having an uncut version is just ridiculous… but of course I still buy the uncut version.

    I do disagree with bringing IMAx and 3D versions into this though, if you have a 3D or IMAX cinema near you then why not see it that way for the experience.

  15. The Worm Grower Says:

    Avatar had to be the best movie ever.

  16. Rufus Keyes Says:

    I like the Avatar 3D movie, particularly the story line, not only it brings a completely new feelings but eye opening thoughts of humanity. I heard the New Avatar 2 is comming soon, cannot wait to see it again…!

  17. SammyB Says:

    My whole family from Grandparents to kids cannot wait for the re-release! Especially IMAX 3D. We would go again without the extras. I think the idea of taking the sequel into the oceans is genius, no one does the sea as great as Cameron.

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