Fox threw caution to the wind and screened 15 minutes of Avatar, not due out until December, to 100,000 people in theaters across the country last night. Audiences for James Cameron's 3-D groundbreaker were enthusiastic, the New York Times reports, if not as blown away as Cameron needs them to be. The Titanic director aims to conquer what Stimulus calls not one but two of Hollywood's biggest challenges: First, to make something people will be eager to watch in a theater, rather than on the couch at home.
Second, he has created a completely new fictional world, not drawn from books, cartoons, or history. Avatar's innovative combination of 3-D and computer enhancement looks like a winner, judging from responses to the 15-minute version. The tougher test will be whether its characters resonate. “What I saw was looking great, but characterwise I couldn’t tell who they are, what they do,” one viewer at last night's New York screening told the Times.