Fox Chairman Has 'No Doubt' That Avatar Will Make a Profit

November 24, 2009
Source: Reuters


I already know that this artucke is going to spark some heated debate, so let's just get on with it. Despite claims that James Cameron's Avatar will cost upwards of $500 million total including marketing costs (via New York Times, two weeks ago), Fox says they can still make a profit. Reuters (via SlashFilm) ran an article yesterday with a few select quotes from Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos, who first says that the $500 million estimated cost is "ridiculous." He also adds that that number "has actually no relationship to the actual cost of the movie" and goes on to talk about how they will make a profit on it.

"People keep repeating a number, which was as if you added the cost of building the studio 80 years ago to the cost of Avatar." Sounds like the public's obsession with how much Avatar costs has really started to get under the skin of these Fox execs. Gianopulos wouldn't give them an accurate number, obviously, but said that it's "some way away from the reported figure." So if it's not $500 million, is it $200 million or what?

"The movie was quite expensive, there is no question about that. But viewed now, from the perspective of its completion and having seen it, it's a formidable work and money well spent," said Gianopulos, who chairs Fox's movie and television production together with Tom Rothman.

When asked if it would make a profit, Gianopulos said, "I have no doubt about that." Considering this interview was conducted in Greece, let's not forget that he's thinking about this from a global perspective. Most box office gurus debate over the US box office total alone, often times forgetting that movies can make more than double at the worldwide box office. And maybe, just maybe, Avatar could do well enough around the world to bring back at least $500 million. Fox is pretty good with international marketing. They did turn Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs into the 3rd biggest overseas box office earner just this year, remember?

I'm not sure how to respond to this yet because I'm not a box office addict and I don't go around debating how much one movie will make or if it'll fail, so I don't want to get into that discussion too much. But these are very interesting statements, especially because I know that they'll bring about plenty of controversy and debate in the comments, for better or worse. Gianopulos says he expects audiences to pay premium prices to see Avatar on some 8,000 3D screens worldwide. Plus, there's the two other outside companies (Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Media) that supposedly pitched in more than 60% of the production budget.

Devindra Hardawar from SlashFilm thinks he's just saying this to distract people from worrying about the cost of Avatar. He says: "Quite honestly, he could be bluffing about the budget to manage the severity of Avatar's failure if it does flop." But, appropriately, he reiterates the most important concern. "At this point, I’m less concerned about Avatar's box office potential and more so with the quality of the film." I'm not as concerned as he is about the quality, but he's dead on with that. Only time will tell what happens to Avatar.

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  • Shane
    God I hope this movie succeeds.
  • Nishit Mohan Singh
    I believe this is gonna be a classic. People would remember this film, the way they remember Aliens and Terminator 2 now.
  • Ray
    I personally dont see how this film can fail. Me and everyone i know are planning to see this some time during opening week and as far as i can tell everyone i dont know is planning to see it too. With a film like this people tend to wait to see the reviews before splashing out and judging by the reactions of those who have seen it, Avatar shouldnt have any difficulty in that area...
  • matt
    yeah, i hope it succeeds too...for quality's sake, i hope people would watch it..
  • krieg70
    Yeah this film will not fail. Even those who express their disappointment in the less than revolutionary footage (I'm one of those people) will still flock to the theatres to see this. Revolutionary or not it still looks like the best movie of the year.
  • Jason
    I saw the 20 min sneak peek in the movie theater and IT WAS PURE AWESOMENESS!!!!
  • woopy doo.
  • Sam
    krieg70 says 'Looks like the best movie of the year; Nishit says 'People would remember this film the same way they remember Aliens and Terminator 2. To krieg70 and Nishit, what are you basing your amazing comments on? A 20 min preview? Cameron's reputation? The hype? I hope you are right, but I'm more in line with what matt said; "I hope it succeeds." The problem I am having with Avatar is that Cameron and Fox have been on hype overdrive since the beginning of 2009. Either they have a movie that's as good as they claim or it's going to suck big time. For those kiddies who were not around at the time, the last time we heard this kind of over hype was in 1980, the year Heaven's Gate was released. Director Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter) and the studio claimed that despite the massive cost of making the movie, it would become one of the greatest films of all time and that everyone will want to see it. Instead it turned out to be a ‘so so’ movie that disappointed everyone which turned this expensive movie into one of the greatest movie flops of all time. The box office was so bad that it pretty well killed Michael Cimino’s career. While I expect Avatar ‘WILL’ live up to the hype and be as good Cameron claims, I am going to wait until I see it before passing judgment. I really hope it is great because I am a huge fan of sic if and of Cameron. We'll see, but after all the hype, a so so movie from Cameron now is not going to be cut it But, I am hoping and will have a ticket for the midnight screening.
  • Dirty Dutchman
    This film and all its merchandising will easily make a profit, but the only award nominations you will see are for visual effects. Also, I am slightly concerned with Cameron's long (10+ years) and personal hype machine for this film... The only other director I can think of with a similar long working project was Tarentino for "Inglorious Bastards" and he hyped up his film just as much as Cameron has and he received mixed reviews, but still made his most profitable film. I have never seen Lucas, Spielberg or Jackson market a film as personal as Cameron has for this. I wish I could be indifferent in going to see this film, but already I am going in with low expectations and with that Cameron has an opportunity to change my mind.
  • PinkSushi
    avatar Will Sink
  • PinkSushi
    my nuts hurts
  • M-Cat
    The movie was awesome! You guys should love it. Just saw a screening and it was incredible! I'll be in IMAX 3D opening night.
  • samuel j
    # 11 you should lick them
  • judas
    i havent seen the movie of course,but i saw the 20 min preview back in august in imax 3d,it is just beautiful .if you havent seen it in imax3d,you havent seen shit.
  • Brian
    A $500 million FX laden movie that people here are saying if you haven't seen in in imax3d you haven't seen shit. That doesn't bode well for it's success because 90% of the people who might want to see it don't live anywhere near an IMAX. If Fox allowed Cameron to spend $500 million on a movie he designed for IMAX then Fox deserves the inevitable bancruptcy that such a stupid business decision will bring.
  • avatarfan1
    being a fan of JC's earlier works (all of them) i already know i will see avatar in 3d multiple times.
  • M-Cat
    Brian get your facts straight before you ramble. 3D will be everywhere by the time this is released. And the budget of $500 million was only a rumor. It's not even close to that number.
  • JakeTheSnake
    Avatar gold
  • EJP
    "artucke" = article? I think Avatar is one of those event films where everyone is going to want to see it just so they can tell people they saw it. I will be there opening weekend.
  • I just can't understand some people who they think they know so much about movie making and marketing ... and the most funny thing they are coming and critiquing a man who made a history in movie making ... !!! and yes .... Avatar Will Make a big Profit ... !!!
  • Voice of Reason
  • ryderup
    I think it will have a huge opening but than fall off, not many people wiill return for a second viewing either.
  • Tir na nog
    This film will be great,people questioning the effects.Look at Terminater,some of the effects are terrible but its still a great film.I was out on Avatar day and wasn't blown away,but its still very impressive and a must see,espicially in 3d.
  • -Peter-
  • Shige
    "I'm not sure how to respond to this yet because I'm not a box office addict and I don't go around debating how much one movie will make or if it'll fail, so I don't want to get into that discussion too much" Yeah right. I remember you raving away every single day about TDK box office.
  • Cineprog
    The thing is will it make 500 millon Dollers the Amount been stated in this artical i hope it Dose because im a big fan of james cameron i wish him well for is vison. he realy put his neck on the line if the film dose not make a substanshal proffit. :-)
  • liike
    Still indifferent to this movie - still looks to me like cowboys and indians - white man bad - save the environment - lets make a difference and turn against each other - anti-war movie. I'll wait for video.
  • SB
    Re: #25 I agree. This coming from the guy who just posted about how to beat Twilight's box office...
  • Big Boss
    Hype, hype, and MORE hype. We will all see what's what on Dec.18th.
  • Cody
    Whether the movie sucks or not its going to make lots of fucking money...even if you think the movie will suck your still going to see it .
  • Brian
    M-Cat, maybe if you actually read my comment you would know that I said IMAX twice. Ouside of quoting Judas, I never said anything about 3D. So, what was that you said about getting facts straight?
  • DoomCanoe
  • Sabes
    I'm sure the movie with all the hype it has gotten will see a big turn out opening weekend. Whether or not it's good enough to keep that going, we'll see. I won't be there the first day though, I'll wait for a little feedback before I decide.
  • xerxex
    M-Cat 3D is a gimmick, man and if Avatar does good, then its the end of good movies, 3D is just there to cheapen the film, its used as a gag to make you jump, seeinhg a character pop out at you is not fun at all. 3D in my opinion will be the death of cinema.
  • branden
    Just go to the mall or Chilis or a bar and ask people what Avatar is. I bet 75% either don't know what it is or they'll say something like, "I think I saw that during an NFL commercial about some blue aliens. Am I going to pay 10 bucks (or more for 3D) to see it? Hell no."
  • mrmr
    it looks good. and ill see it. but 500 mil?? please.... i am too tired to even imagine they are gonna make a gi-normous profit. get serious and wtf is with all these 3d movies. shit. i hates them with all the fibers in me bones.
  • Tra la la la la di da
    I honestly believe they're scared because if they weren't then it wouldn't matter how much it cost and they would give a real number because right now, $500 million is still the known number and if it doesn't make at least $100-200 million over reviews will say it was hardly a success, budget wise. Obviously a movie bringing in $700 million is a success but at what cost? I know it'll make money as well, but it does have to churn in a lot of revenue....
  • Mark
    #30, no I'm not going to see it unless it gets at least 80% on Rotten Tomatoes (and I don't count votes from people that just wow about the special effects). If I do see it, it will be in good ol' 2D, so that the glasses don't dull the colours.
  • Antioch
    Rotten Tomatoes rarely knows what they're talking about... Personally, though, this movie simply doesn't look that great - just a lot of eye candy and a recycled story taking place on another planet.
  • Karen
    If all you boys out there consider this FX/Annimation/Video Game mess called Avatar an actual movie, then you little peckerwoods need to listen to your mamas and get out of your basements for some fresh air. You little boys go ahead and watch your cartoon in 3-D while the big boys take us girls out to a grownup movie. Kids!
  • xerxex
    Little mean Karen, but somewhat correct.
  • xerxex
    aren't I the ultimate kissass!? damn...but I do agree, but only about the 3D bullshit, its an insult my eyes.
  • Ostilad
    If one looks at all the movies that come out of Hollywood and everywhere else for that matter, we see them as generic at least to some degree. One can easily see how 10 other directors would somehow have managed to make a similar movie. Most directors are text book. Rarely, blowing us out the water and mostly without the kahunas to go head on with making something thats so out of left field. Remakes, reboots, sequels and adaptations are all that there is today. There are only a handful directors that pure Mavericks. As good as The Dark Knight was, it was an adaptation. Only Cameron can market Avatar the way it needs to be. It is his baby. 10+ years in the making.
  • SlashBeast
    Adapting and making an original movie are equally as difficult. When you adapt, you have to scrap what works and roll with what doesn't from the source. Not to mention that you have to please those fickle fans. Original movies don't really have a preconceived bias, but making them popular is difficult.
  • PJ
    This buildup is reminding me a lot of pre-release Titanic talk. Don't know if results will be the same, but I would not underestimate Cameron with his baby.
  • sam
    has anyone seen the previews or the graphics please they should of done it like TMNT or beowulf i loves the movies i love all movies but i gotta say avatar is in my bottom 20 for the next three months
  • Justin
    #40, what, a movie like Twilight? Pfft! I am by no means a kid and I assure you, I'll be in the theatre come Dec 18. Oh and just by-the-by... How many times did you watch Titanic? Or was that not a big girls movie?
  • james cameron
    everyone who is dogging the 3D, you do realize that the glasses aren't the same as the 80s red and blue pieces of junk right.........they look like normal sunglasses/eyeglasses............ and this is a new 3D that cameron is bringin to the i cannot wait to see it...........
  • Anti-Fox
    I'm not really sure about this film but I will go see it, it looks like it is very well made and special effects look top notch but it just hasn't really got me excited for some reason. I'm still prepared to give it a chance hope it kills New Moon's box office take I would rather Avatar being the biggest movie of 2009 than that gay teeny bopper Vampire Crap.
  • Implicx
    A movie like this makes bank in the overseas market, where people hardly understand the plot, but are absolutely mesmerized with the graphics, the epic scale of the production and action sequences. And when I say "people" I mean majority, upwards of 75% people in third world countries will not understand the "complexity" of American movies, not because they are uneducated or dumb, but because of language and cultural differences. And yes ofcourse, not everyone in rich or educated countries understand everything. I still think more than half the people who saw Matrix, still dont understand it. But the point is not who is smart or not, but a movie of this scale is the #1 choice for movie goers in the overseas market. They love such epic scale war stuff. The movie will be a blockbuster overseas, which will pull in a lot of money. The domestic market will sell out the first few weeks, especially since finals will be over for both high school and colleges by then and no big movie around that time. Also if you read the NY times about the budget of this movie, they pointed out that Fox is leveraging some of the risk by releasing the 2nd chipmunks movie which made a stunning profit with the first movie. I think the trailer has done its job. It has generated enough interest that people will go watch it. Of course not everyone, but enough. Overseas markets are gonna go packed houses for this. Countries like India and China are huge markets for these kinda movies, as the masses, almost 650 million viewers just between these two countries. Obviously ticket prices are around $3 to $10 dollars there, but still in sheer numbers, i expect this movie to cross $1 billion. A movie like Dark Knight which was first of all an amazing movie, dark, but amazing, made close to a $1billion with dvd sales etc. This movie is going to be the first choice for everyone in the overseas market and in U.S regardless of the good or bad review, it will have a thunderous 1 week at the box office. Good luck..hope the story is good, visually stunning, and i hope it succeeds. If not then, Fox should immediately sell its propaganda arm Fox News and recover the cost. Sell it to rush, palin and the oh so faithful but polarized republicans and also give them texas and make them a separate country..haha relax people no need to get worked about these comments..i really dont care...and you should not either.
  • this movie was just flat-out AWFUL. what a waste of money. the only thing i liked about it was NOTHING!!! absolutely nothing. i hope all of you learned a valuable lesson. peace <3
  • implicx
    Sorry Rachel, you didnt like it, but majority did. Maybe you dont understand post planetary concepts and what imagination is. But that is ok, there is no "rule" in the world that everyone needs to like a specific movie. The movie has crossed $600 million in just 10 days, and it has still not debuted in China and some other countries, which means that in the next 20 days the movie will get close to a Billion Dollars, just like i predicted. Anyways, i thought the movie was excellent. The visuals were stunning. Dont care too much about 3D and the 3D glasses, they are kinda distracting, if you just watch the movie on a big imax screen without any 3D gimmicks, the visual clarity, the colors and scope are just brilliant. The story could have been a bit more cohesive, but it did it job. And yes we learned a valuable lesson, that imagination is the key to survival and brilliance. The movie is a blockbuster superhit, with close to a billion people actually liking it. Many like you did not like it and that is ok. There is no movie in the world ever made that has 100% of its audience with one opinion.
  • Rman Hootie
    Avatar is the most incredible movie I have ever seen. It has brought back the excitement I felt for movies like the first time that I saw Star Wars way back in the '70's. The story has taken the best themes from Dances With Wolves, Star Wars and Braveheart and added absolute mind blowing special effects with a superb script. Avatar will become the largest grossing movie ever made.
  • JMun
    It is amusing to read back through many of these comments as Avatar prepares to break the 2 Billion mark.




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