Producer Jon Landau Talks About The 'Avatar' DVD Release, 3D Technology & 'Titanic'
James Cameron's 'Avatar' is now the highest grossing film of all time, and the eagerly awaited DVD and Blu-ray of the film is being released today. It's no coincidence that it was timed with Earth Day, as nature (and its unnecessary destruction)is a large theme in the film. The hugely successful blockbuster tells the story of an alien planet threatened by a human mining project, but also manages to be a romance, a cautionary tale, and a stunning visual-effects masterpiece at the same time. No wonder it's a hit with audiences of all ages, across the globe!
Starpulse contributing writer Melissa Liznick was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with Jon Landau, the producer of 'Avatar' and 'Titanic', James Cameron's most successful films. Read on for exciting news about Titanic's upcoming 3D release!
Melissa Liznick: With all of the innovations pioneered by this movie, do you think 3D will be the industry standard for blockbusters now?
Jon Landau: Interestingly enough, I don’t think it was the 3D aspect of 'Avatar' that made it such a success. It was how we created computer-generated characters who were emotional and seemed human. They seem so life-like that I think they're more of an innovation than the aspect of the 3D. You don’t need, say, surround sound to have a successful film, so I don’t think you need 3D to tell a great story.
ML: That’s true! I think James Cameron’s next innovation should be 3D glasses that don’t make the audience look like bugs. But that’s part of the fun, and seeing Pandora presented in such a realistic way seems to draw us into the world further.
JL: Again, it’s definitely a reason for the success of 'Avatar', but Jim [James Cameron] is ultimately a storyteller, and a great one at that. It’s the journey these characters go on, it’s the way the story is told that makes us see further, in addition to the presentation of it on screen. That sense of wonder, exploration and curiosity just naturally makes him a great storyteller.
ML: 'Avatar' will be released on DVD April 22. What can we expect? Is there any extra footage?
JL: We're very excited about this release! There’s been a huge demand from fans who want to return to Pandora, so we decided to release it now. That being said, we wanted to put out a high-quality product, so we convinced Fox to skip putting frills on this one, like commentary and trailers and deleted scenes. This way we could make sure the quality of the DVD is equal level of what you saw onscreen.
Another great thing is that we get to reach a broader audience – kids who couldn’t see it in theaters, people who were too busy or didn’t want to deal with lines. So now they get a chance to see it.
ML: When do you think it will be released on 3D Blu-Ray?
JL: Well, we’re gonna be smart about it and analyze the penetration in the market. There’s no point in releasing it before the technology isn’t around. We definitely don’t want to release it if nobody is going to watch it! But we’ll know more by the summer, but 3D televisions and technology are so new that we’re taking it step by step.
ML: That makes sense. Something that is set in stone, though: 'Titanic' is being re-released in 3D in 2012!
JL: Yes! That one’s confirmed. It’s such an interesting process, converting 2D to 3D, but one that we’ve researched for several years. Surprisingly, it’s more of an artistic process than a technical one, which is why [James Cameron] will be working on it with us. It’s going to take anywhere from 1 ½ - 2 years.
ML: Speaking of 'Titanic', you won an Academy Award for that film in 1997. I have to ask- where do you keep your statue?
JL: [Laughs] Well! It’s actually right by my front door. I show it off! Some people stow it away but I’m very proud of that achievement. In fact, I’ve taken with me when I travel sometimes. It’s been to China. It’s probably the world’s most traveled Oscar.
ML: That’s actually refreshing to hear. 'Titanic' was an amazing film, but obviously one that can’t have a sequel. Can we expect one from 'Avatar', though?
JL: Well, [James] Cameron has made two sequels in his career, and they were as good as, if not better than, the first film. So again, we’ll take our time and see where we end up.
ML: Your parents were also producers, and it seems that the entertainment industry has always been calling your name. You always have something exciting you're working on - are there any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
JL: There's a few: 'Battle Angel' and 'The Dive'. I’m really happy with 'Titanic' and 'Avatar', and how the audiences have embraced those films. I hope to keep working with Cameron as long as I can. Producing is in my blood, and I love what I do. You’re always working for your next project. To me, 'Avatar' is proof that if you believe you can do the impossible and never give up, great things can happen. SP
'Avatar' was released on DVD and Blu-ray today and can be purchased in stores or online at Amazon.com.
Story by Melissa Liznick
Starpulse contributing writer