Have you ever thought of what makes a super hit Hollywood blockbuster? It is mostly what happens before the movie is released that matters rather than what happens afterwards. It is not just the directing, acting, and story line, but also the magic, excitement and awe generated by the latest technology and successful marketing. Consider the animation in ‘Avatar’ that won 3 Oscars. The marketing of the movie created and managed the expectations of the viewers so elegantly that the public was satisfied with what they viewed resulting in the movie being a box office hit.
The advertising campaigns took a very broad approach. They targeted children with video games, action figures and other toys. Colour laser printers rolled out thousands upon thousands of posters of the blue-skinned warrior to generate public attention. These marketing strategies created a stir in the public and ensured jam-packed cinemas.
Despite good story lines, other films did not run as expected since their advertisement was not done properly. For Avatar, the mystery behind the main character was created before the movie came out. This cloud of mystery induced in the audience a sense of discovery when watching the movie.
Another reason behind the success of this movie was the use of revolutionary special effects and 3D. Both the animated and recorded sections of the film were infused with special effects, which even raised eyebrows of experts. Every Hollywood hit greatly stands out from the rest in one aspect, for Avatar it was the special effects. As in most movies, this movie used CGI technology in innovative ways. Image-based facial performance capture was used, as all actors wore sensors on their faces and bodies. This led to extremely detailed facial expressions and movements in the film.
Avatar also used a virtual monitor that displayed motion capture results to the director in real-time. This technique ensured accuracy that was not present in other films that had used motion capture technology. More than 90 cameras were used on the stage of Avatar. Two high-definition cameras were used together in a single body to create depth perception. To create and design the virtual planet of Pandora, over a petabyte (equal to 1024 terabytes) of hard-drive space was used.
So, what makes a hit blockbuster? It is going the extra mile. Being innovative by doing different things with the same technology. If you are one step ahead of the competition, you’re on your way to a hit.