Jon Landau, executive producer of James Cameron's phenomenally successful film Avatar and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, recently hosted a press day introducing the April 22 release of Avatar on Blu-ray--participating in one-on-one interviews with selected members of the press, as well as roundtable discussions. Although, there wasn't much in the way of food, they did have a bar where the Avatar blue martini was the house special. The following is a snippet of the roundtable conversation as well as discussions I had with James Finn of Twentieth Century Fox.
Q: Do you think 3D is here to stay, and should everything be made in 3D? Landau: Moving forward, Jim (James Cameron) wants to do everything in 3D. Had digital 3D been available a dozen or so years ago when he shot Titanic, he'd have used it, but he didn't have it at the time. And now that we have the technology we intend to do Titanic in 3D. It will take one year to 18 months and Jim will be involved in it. We see in 3D everyday--we've always seen in 3D, we just never knew how to (theatrically) capture it until now.
And should everything be made in 3D? Depends. Remaking classics, we'll use Citizen Kane for example, I would not support that because Orson Wells isn't here. Now if you want to go and do ET and have Steven [Spielberg] involved in it. I think that would be great. I think if you want to do Star Wars and I think George [Lucas] is interested in doing it. Lord of the Rings... Again, to have someone come in and interpret what [the director] wants, I think that's where we get into trouble. It becomes exploitative and not creative. Right now the desire to make movies in 3D must come from the filmmaker and not the studios.
What can we expect to find on the Blu-ray release of Avatar on the 22? Landau:The way we've approached this initial release is all about the quality of the presentation. So there is no additional content on the disc. There are no trailers, no commercials, and no director's commentary because that takes away from the bit-rate that you can apply to the movie. We went with very simplistic menus again because [to elaborate on the menu] meant you have to do nine different versions and you have to do it in French, in Spanish, and do all this different branching. It [would have taken] up enough space that you'd have lost something off of the picture quality. Jim Cameron spent a week with our color timer, who did the movie doing a special color grading for the home entertainment release. Normally, the quote-encoding process takes two weeks. We spent five weeks doing it. We had people involved from Lightstorm throughout, where we made sure everything was right. We think the quality that we are going to present on the Blu-ray is pretty remarkable.
So this is just the movie with no frills. How much of the Blu-ray disc are you using then for the movie? Landau: Well, I wouldn't say "no frills" [chuckles]... We are actually using 100 percent of the disc.… Read more