Special Edition with premium footage of Pandora did
give an extra push to its box office run when it seemed
to be losing steam. But, only if people had immensely
liked it in the first place would they have walked
in once again to watch the special unedited version.
And, no doubt, there have been repeat audiences. There
is absolutely no other way that a movie would have
sustained itself for so long in theaters.
Some would say that it was the fascination towards
the grand visuals and 3D effects that had spurred
the movie along. But, following the huge success of
Avatar, there have been a slew of films that have
tried to capitalize on magnificent visuals and the
3D tag. These include previously successful franchises
like Narnia, hugely popular stories like Gulliver
etc. None of them have been able to make even a fraction
of the impact that Avatar made and continues to make.
But, what really makes the success of Avatar so astounding
is the fact that it has managed to get a patronage
which is not even accorded to the biggest hits from
Indian cinema. The last time one remembers a Tamil
movie completing one year in theaters is in 2005 –
Chandramukhi. In 2010, completing one year in theaters
is like a distant dream for any film. The dynamics
of cinema business has changed so much in the last
five years that 3-4 weeks is the optimum or even maximum
shelf life for a film that is a hit. Even huge blockbusters
like Endhiran are fading away from theaters after
completing 100 days; Avatar nearly touched 400..
There are factors that have contributed to this long
innings of Avatar. First, it began at the box office
just like any other English movie does. Yes, there
was a little bit of extra hype, a marginally wider
release and a Tamil dubbed version that found its
way to smaller theaters. But, for all reasons, the
first few weeks were mostly made up of the niche audience
who regularly turn up for Hollywood cinema. It is
later, as the word of mouth about the stunning visual
treat got around, that the other sections of the audience
started showing up. Slowly, it became a must watch
for every movie buff; English, Tamil or Hindi did
not matter, everyone wanted to experience the most
expensive movie to be ever made.
And, there could have been no better film than Avatar
to gain this status. A painstakingly created piece
of art that wows you. The sheer power of imagination
of the human mind was exhibited in all its ebullience
as a whole new world was created from thin air. There
have been other instances where magical, mystical
and mysterious lands have been conjured up on screen;
like Hogwarts or Narnia or Liliput or Middle Earth.
But none can match up to the completeness of Pandora.
And, how can we forget the whole new language that
was created. It is perhaps, for being such an inspirational
creation that Avatar has earned itself the rare reputation
of completing a year of consecutive screenings in
Chennai. May we see more like these!