"Avatar" returns to theaters with extra footage

Mon Aug 23, 2010 8:27pm EDT
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By Carl DiOrio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's ba-a-a-ck ... and longer than ever.

James Cameron's sci-fi epic "Avatar" revisits global multiplexes this weekend in a quest to pad its record $2.74 billion worldwide box office and hype DVD and Blu-ray Disc special editions planned for the fall. In fact, the theatrical rerelease is billed as a "special edition" of the eco-themed fantasy based on an extra 8-1/2 minutes of footage featuring additional action segments and other scenes.

The 2D DVD and Blu-ray Disc special editions expected to hit store shelves in November will feature at least 16 minutes of extra "Avatar" footage, a source told The Hollywood Reporter. A 3D version of the movie won't be available for home entertainment until next year.

"Avatar" producer Jon Landau said in an interview that new scenes included in the now 171-minute theatrical special edition involve action sequences and narrative-deepening extensions of key scenes involving the blue-skinned Na'vi of Pandora and their human visitors.

"We tried to look at what people have responded to in the film and give them more of that," Landau said. "There's a whole new scene that takes place in the (Na'vi) school, there's more night bioluminescence, there's new creatures, and there is a new action scene. The scenes don't just feel like added scenes -- they are very organic to the story and embellish it."

"Avatar" originally bowed in 2D and 3D on December 18, but the theatrical special edition will be shown only in 3D venues.

"About every 15 minutes you'll get something new that you haven't seen before, which is kind of cool," Fox domestic distribution chief Bruce Snyder said. "People want to go back to Pandora on the big screen."

Starting Friday, Fox will distribute the stretched "Avatar" in more than 800 U.S. and Canadian theaters, including roughly 125 Imax venues, though most of the latter specialty auditoriums will play "Avatar" for two weeks only. Cameron shot several "Avatar" scenes using Imax cameras, and the global blockbuster stands as the specialty exhibitor's top-grossing title with $236 million worldwide.   Continued...

<p>Director of the movie James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis pose at the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 16, 2009. The movie opens in the U.S. on December 18. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>