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Discuss: Did James Cameron Rip Off 20th Century Fox with "Avatar"?

Posted: November 16th, 2009 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Discuss: Did James Cameron Rip Off 20th Century Fox with "Avatar"?Submit Comment
It was recently reported that James Cameron's "Avatar" film is approaching a $500 million price tag. Many of you were surprised, since we've seen better - or equally as good - effects in "District 9," which cost only $30 million. So why does "Avatar" cost so much?

Cameron has been saying that he has been waiting for technology to catch up, in order for him to make the film. Now that it has, he has spent a large portion of his time building up his proprietary tools to be to able to convert actors into creatures in real-time.

This has taken him years and millions of dollars to do and Fox has been paying all the bills. But when everything is done, under the contract, Fox will have nothing to do with these tools and Cameron will be free to license them to other directors, like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, who have already expressed interest.

Cameron recently stated that he will probably not make anything from "Avatar," since he went so much over the budget. He added that he'll make all the money when he begins selling his technology.

Question: Did Cameron sign on for "Avatar" just to build his new technology and have a studio pay for it? And, is it fair to Fox, considering the same film could have probably been made for half the price?

Source: WorstPreviews.com


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Displaying 49 comment(s) Profanity: Turn On
manichispanic writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 7:44:49 AM

maybe
eddie499 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:04:29 AM

If he got them to sign off on a contract for it, then it's their own fault since all of these deals go through an army of lawyers and legal type people. If Fox got suckered, they did it to themselves by not seeing the opportunity to snake in on a piece of this technology. But time will tell. This could be a real hit.
lokopr writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:04:44 AM

if thats the case...GOOD JOB!!! someone finally screwed up fox!!! maybe maybe after this, they will think of changing the people that make decisions for the movies...cameron FTW!!!! =D
WorstMatt writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:04:52 AM

I honestly have no sympathy for Fox - sometimes I wonder if the people that run that studio even like movies. They certainly don't like film goers, just the wallet in our back pocket or purse.

However, if JC did develop technology with studio funds, the lawyers will be screaming lawsuit.

Also, the comment on District 9 - yes, the effects were amazing, and I completely loved the movie, however Avatar, in it's defense (though I'm not defending the production design, which I find lacking, much like the Star Wars Prequels), it looks much more epic in scale.
BlutoDaBoss21 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:12:16 AM

go Jimmy Cameron! thats all i have to add to this...oh and think it twill be an alright movie
nope.com writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:13:50 AM

Im a little torn... Cameron absolutely ripped em off on this "deal"

.. but at the same time, it's freakin FOX

So who the f*ck cares, they all can g.t.h
tolgaboy writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:17:43 AM

james has good movies this is not it
ifakos writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:22:20 AM

Probably. However, deal is a deal. FOX can turn out to make 100s of millions. If I'm not wrong, Cameron got some of his own assets invested in this movie/technology, so if it will bomb, so will he. Most likely it will be a huge hit; it's Cameron for God sakes.
Peter Parker writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 8:44:31 AM

"Fox has been paying all the bills..."
"Fox will have nothing to do with these tools..."
"is it fair to Fox...?"

- Who the f*ck is Fox? SugaMomma?
eViL.kEv2 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 9:17:01 AM

This movie's probably gonna suck balls, and I'm pretty happy that Cameron's screwing them over and is gonna make a ton of money selling off his new toys. Can't wait til Peter Jackson gets his hands on them and really explores their capabilities
CyberpunkCentral writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 9:24:47 AM

I HOPE "Avatar" gets Tom Rothman fired ;)
N8R writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 9:35:13 AM

Fox deserves it considering what they tried to do to Watchmen.
TRUEMAN writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 9:45:03 AM

Pure crap pure excuses to justify that the movie is a fault begining with his star SAM W. he destroy the movie with his dumb shiit!
CyberpunkCentral writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 9:59:24 AM

Fox deserves it for f*ckING over "Dragon Ball" and it worldwide fans really, really, bad!

Now we won't be able to get "Dragon Ball Kai" in North America because of what Fox/Tom Rothman has done.
TheHundreds writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 9:59:30 AM

Outrageous your actually comparing the effects to Disctict 9 in this article. Cleary, sir, you did not attend Avatar day. My respect/interest in this site is slowly slipping. At least when film drunk makes an opinion its surround by facts and actually funny.
Dre-EL writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 10:09:25 AM

I have a question regarding the 500m cost being bantered around. Are you saying that the film cost 500m or is it that the film + the cost of creating this technology cost 500m?

If the film cost 500m then WOW, however, if the majority of the cost assosciated with the project were for the development of the new technology, then, these costs incurred would fall under Research and Development and would not be offset against the revenue brought in from the film. Thus the film could still yeild a significant profit. More than likely this is the deal that FOX signed, unless of course they are complete and utter morons.

In regards to the film I remember reading that the majority of the project was going to be animated because Cameron wanted a complete alien landscape, when I saw the trailer I was amazed, cause if the aliens and the jungle landscape were to be animated they looked completely real to me. There is a distinct difference in seeing the trailer on TV or your computer in comparison to the big screen, this movie was clearing made for the big screen theatre experience.
Lucas always said that the STAR WARS movies were designed to be appreciated more at the theatres, bear in mind that this is where film makers want you to go, thus movies like this have to carry with it some kind of spectacle.

I remember going to Titanic merely to see the ship sink and got carried away with the entire film, I went to T2 mostly to see the liqid metal T-1000 and pow its now one of my fav films. Even though I love the entire franchise Aliens is still my favourite. I thoroughly enjoyed the Abyss, True Lies and Rambo FB part2 (written by Cameron) is my fav from that franchise.
I say all this to point out that there is always a little more than expected at a Cameron flic so instead of pissing all over him for a movie we havent yet seen lets just wait and reserve judgement till the 11th of Dec.

"Whats there to think about its freakin Cameron"
darkknight1985 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 10:26:02 AM

If he did, good for him!
After what Fox did to my all time favourite TV series Firefly, they deserve all the bad luck they will get til the end of their vile and pathetic existence.
PrevalentMind writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 11:35:13 AM

What did I tell you people for the last f*cking year?

The man makes his money back selling the tech. Bam- I'm right. f*ck You hahaha. I love me some pettiness.
thedudeman69 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 11:38:33 AM

its like frankenstien being funded by the townspeople to build a monster. I mean it's so f*cking hilarous that Fox cannot see thorugh his sceme of wanting to do a experimental movie, and they ponied up the cash for it.
warlord writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 12:23:53 PM

cgi was piss poor like to know were the 500 mill whent
Tizzle writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 12:25:53 PM

If Cameron made "avatar" just to build the tech and then have rights to it, and Fox paid for it, then awesome. Cameron you are a genius. I mean the guy made true lies. Genius.
BigUnit writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 12:36:59 PM

well played Cameron. welllll played.
Ranger writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 12:40:34 PM

Well said everyone. Apparently we ALL see what Cameron is up to... EXCEPT FOX!

Bwwwhahahahahahaaaa!!!

And the 'Douche 2009 Award' goes to...

FOX!

I have no doubt Fox will make back their half bil. on this movie. But not retaining ANY rights to this 'new technology' is just leaving too many chips on the table... and that is a HUGE, STUPID oversight.

Who owns Fox anyway... the Government?!
BigUnit writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 12:40:46 PM

the movie will make back its money in foreign box office alone, Cameron wont even have to worry about making the money back with his new technology, he'll just be bankin off it.
rabid writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 1:09:45 PM

Who cares? I just want to be entertained. I don't give a rat's ass what it costs to make.
Besides, FOX isnt bearing the weight of the budget. 60% of the production costs are coming from Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Media, with several other large investors. If it were to flop, FOX and the News Corporation would barefly feel a sting.
Tizzle writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 1:43:01 PM

@Ranger - Last time I checked it was News Corp founded and owned by Aussie Billionaire Rooopuht Muhdock. And yes along with Disney they run ALL aspects of the media industry, and most of the government.
bfwebster writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 1:50:35 PM

This is actually a classic approach in information technology -- it's called 'first customer pays'. You get a willing (or unwitting) customer to underwrite the development of new technology (hardware or software) for a specific project, then you turn around and use that technology for follow-on projects. The IT field has become more sophisticated about this, which is why nowadays you have heavy discussions over intellectual property (IP) ownership and licensing in such situations. If Cameron snookered Fox in this case, well, shame on them -- someone there should know better. ..bruce..
Shogo1307 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 1:57:18 PM

yes it is! Bout time someone f*cked fox in the ass like they f*ck everyone else in the ass with no lube and no love!
jeffw1978 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 2:24:19 PM

I thought the gov ran CNN and MSNBC? HUH

Camerson sucks but having FOX foot the was pretty clever.
Ranger writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 2:28:28 PM

@Tizzle - thank you.
Peter Parker writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 2:43:36 PM

IT'S A SIGN, I TELL YA...

A SIGN!!! AAARGH...


(... wait, wrong article! Ooops...)
steamluv writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 2:46:31 PM

For all the movies Fox has f*cked with, Im glad to see them get f*cked every once in a while. Even if it is from a d*ck like James Cameron.
TeemSelami writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 3:12:21 PM

Jesus how many ways can you ask the same question WP? did Fox get ripped off? You also said in the "Avatar Has a $500 Million Budget, Can It Make a Profit?" story that Fox sought outside investors. Ranger already explained why you can't compare district9 with this movie in the user comments of the same story. as for where the money went i think Dre El said it best. Could the SAME film been made for half the price?
viejoxico writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 3:26:56 PM

If he did, isn't that illegal in some way? Whats this new technology anyway...
RickyGabrielBird writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 3:36:58 PM

Maybe Avatar did cost 30mil to make and he took 470mil for directing it :)
Aaron writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 4:00:36 PM

It's kind of hard to say considering... NOBODY HAS SEEN THE MOVIE YET!
eddie499 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 4:22:13 PM

And to the naysayers. The movie hasn't come out yet, you haven't seen it, you can't say that a flick blows without seeing it. Given Cameron's track record, he never disappoints, but them again, I haven't seen Piranha Part Two: The Spawning. I heard that one blows.
Jedimax writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 4:24:24 PM

I find it hard to believe they had no idea what they were getting into.
Movieman188 writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 5:09:46 PM

If he did it on purpose, I would love to shake his hand because 20th Century deserves to have there ass raped.
wonderBOY writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 6:00:10 PM

south park made a better version of avatar and that only took a week to complete and a lot cheaper
AshTrey writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 6:25:28 PM

I'M NOT EVEN GONNA READ THIS... WE GOTTA STOP THIS AVATAR MACHINE. I CANT TAKE IT
clydefamous writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 6:55:53 PM

For all the crap that Fox pulled trying to ruin and chop up movies, Dudes and Dudettes this is just some of that old Americana we call Justice.
The Skippy Spartan writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 7:06:19 PM

To me thats Hollywood, its business and its just about time FOX got screwed around instead of the little guy!
EilanVakshti writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 7:30:49 PM

If that's the case,then I'm definitely on Cameron's side.
rabid writes:
on November 16th, 2009 at 11:26:30 PM

Even if the film flopped, it wouldn't hurt FOX at all. They aren't the primary investors on the film. Cameron is a chairman on one of the companies that paid up, so if he hurt anyone, it'd only be himself.
But we all know this film is going to seriously bank.
Kurskij writes:
on November 17th, 2009 at 10:01:58 AM

Ahhhh, f*ck... He developed the technology using his OWN money. And for f*ck's sake, how long will it take people to understand the difference between District 9 and Avatar CGI? Who come you even try to compare those two?
Kurskij writes:
on November 17th, 2009 at 10:06:06 AM

Also: 500 mil is not the production budget. These digits include every single dollar some newspaper (NY Times?) cared to add including marketing, technology development (Cameron's personal money) and even the money they've never spent - Panasonic commercials cost them zero instead of 25-30 mil because Cameron agreed to help them with developing 3d home theatre systems. There, I'm finished! Where is my vodka and whores?...
Eben1277 writes:
on November 18th, 2009 at 4:12:10 AM

It's too bad this isn't going to bankrupt Fox.
pepsicolacat writes:
on January 30th, 2010 at 6:43:40 PM

Just by having james camerons name on it well make at least $500 million and since it's obviously the highest grossing movie of all tme fox won. They risked nothing and made everything. putting $500 mill on a james cameron movie is risk free. He would have to try to f*ck up a movie so bad not to make $500 million and even then it would probablly still make $500. He made titanic $1.6 billion and now avatar $2 billion and going. morons.

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