Posts Tagged ‘james cameron’

Social Media and making a $1 Billion movie: Avatar

by Deepika Bajaj on March 4, 2010

Avatar, the movie, was SIMPLY mind blowing! I remember going into the theater thinking that this is going to be another 3D sci-fi movie. Little did I know, what was in store for me. I felt I was walking in that jungle and James Cameron totally impressed me with the use of Sci-Fi technologies. I had never experienced something even close to this… and of course! all my friends were surprised since I was the last one to catch this movie.

Coming out of the theater, I was convinced that the movie is setting a new standard for movie makers, marketers and brands seeking exposure.

This box office superhit broke every record. The results in its case were a $232 million opening weekend, a total of one billion dollars in revenue by year’s end, and the rank of #2 highest grossing film of all time. Cameron’s $500 million act of hubris has paid off.

Needless to say, social media had a role to play in this.

The Beginning:

Avatar has its own Facebook and Twitter pages. That’s getting to be standard these days. The 27,000+ follower Twitter account has info on the coming prequel – yes… not a sequel.

Before the launch of the movie,  followers would retweet updates to their followers, who (if interested) would do the same, spreading the word all over the web. The Facebook Page is impressive, with over 1.5 million fans.

The Tactic:

The red carpet premiere of Avatar was broadcast live to web audiences on video streaming web site Ustream. Fans could watch the video on the film’s MySpace page in addition to the Ustream website. This Red carpet was a week before the actual release just in time to create a buzz…

The Conquest:

On December 3, MTV.com put together a Facebook-hosted, LG-sponsored webcast called “Avatar Live.” Director James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana were interviewed by MTV News’ Josh Horowitz, the questions were submitted by fans in the days leading up to the day of the event. The 30-minute interview was the the first time many huge Hollywood names sat down to take questions from Internet fans… If all this is not Social Media, then I wonder what is?

Titanic and the power of storytelling

by Rajesh Setty on November 6, 2009

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”
Muriel Rukeysertitanic

“Did you see James Cameron’s brilliant movie Titanic?”

Whenever I ask this question, nine out of ten times I get a “Yes.”

I have a follow up question after that.

“Before you saw the movie, did you know that the ship, the Titanic, was going to sink completely in the end?”

The answer, nine out of ten times – “Yes.”

In other words, millions of people spent time watching a three-hour movie about a ship knowing in advance that the ship would sink. It takes about 90 minutes from the time the ship gets into trouble until it sinks completely.

James Cameron begins the film in 1996, as a treasure hunter and his team search for a diamond necklace called the “Heart of the Ocean,” which was lost aboard the Titanic when it sank. So, if you somehow went to the movie without knowing that the Titanic was doomed to sink, you learned that fact within the first ten minutes of the film.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Titanic. In fact, I think Titanic was a brilliantly made movie, and I totally enjoyed it.

Now, why were people watching this movie even after knowing what the main action was in advance?

One reason, of course, is curiosity. People wanted to find out what really happened with the Titanic before it sank. That part was a mystery for many people.

The second reason is the power of storytelling in play.  James Cameron and his team did a brilliant job of narrating the Titanic story, in all its glory and tragedy, for more than three hours in a spellbinding fashion. They created a compelling story and fascinating characters that drew us in to the story. We saw the ship through the eyes of Rose and Jack, and we were drawn into their world.

The audience knew that the ship was going to sink, so there was no suspense there. But what they didn’t know was “what happened to Rose DeWitt on the night Titanic went down” In fact, the audience knew that she survived so the suspense was all about the events that unfolded in her life until the time the ship went down. Soon after she starts narrating her story, a “conflict” is introduced. Young Rose (who was traveling in First Class) falls in love with a drifter called Jack Dawson (who was traveling in Third Class) and obviously Rose’s family is not happy about it. The audience is now left to imagine how their love story ended. Was it a happy ending? Was it a sad ending? Did Jack survive? If so where is he? Lots of questions and therefore lots of reasons for the audience to continue to pay attention.

Even though everyone expected the film’s climax (ship sinking), the audience was not aware of the events leading to the climax in the life of Rose Dewitt. That’s what kept the audience glued to the seats.

Hats off to them and hats off James Cameron, his team, and to the power of storytelling in general!

The real question is:

How are you using the power of storytelling in your life and/or in your business?