In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, James Cameron announced the DVD and Blu-ray release date for Avatar, intentionally coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
“It’s all right on schedule,” said Cameron. “We’ll do the Blu-ray and the standard def DVD April 22, that’s our plan as of right now, and that’ll be pretty much bare bones. And then we’ll do a value-added DVD and a 3-D Blu-ray in I think November sometime.”
The initial “bare bones” release fits with what News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch promised earlier this month, taking further advantage of the monster success before June when their fiscal year ends.
It should be noted that a Fox rep later told the WSJ the Blu-ray 3D technology is still in the “conceptual stage” and it may not be ready by November. The backpedaling could be an attempt to cover in case the process isn’t there yet, but perhaps Fox wants to keep the timeframe ambiguous so fans will double dip later when the special edition hits shelves.
Meanwhile, Cameron confirmed he’s writing a novel version of the 9-time Oscar nominee. It won’t strictly be a prequel, as previously reported. Instead the book will follow the film “quite closely” while filling in gaps left by the 162-minute epic. Through “interior monologues,” the novelization will provide additional details about the characters and Pandora, including more about the schoolhouse lead by Dr. Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), the Earthbound backstory of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a history of Col. Quaritch (Stephen Lang), and the death of Jake’s brother Tommy.
The novel may also contains more hints at the direction of the inevitable second film. Cameron again confirmed it is happening to MTV, saying only the sequel will focus on the main characters of the original and “be a continuation of their story.” He offered jokingly, “I expect those nasty humans didn’t just go away forever.” The original, which has grossed $2.39 billion worldwide so far, will likely become part of a planned trilogy arc.
As for when we might expect a follow-up, Cameron said there is a “strong possibility” Avatar 2 will become his next film, but this early into pre-planning (it’s only been 2 months) anything can happen with his schedule. His producing partner, Jon Landau, said Cameron’s other option has always been adapting the anime Battle Angel: Alita. The cyborg story was being developed as Cameron’s return to directing circa 2005, but realizations about the capabilities of modern technology turned their attention to his “magnum opus” instead, Landau told MTV in a separate interview.
“[‘Battle Angel’] is something that Jim is very, very passionate about. It was actually brought to our attention by another filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro; Guillermo saw those things in the property that he thought would really relate to Jim, and Jim responded to it immediately.”
However Landau seems confident that Cameron plans to shoot the Avatar sequel first, followed by his live-action version of the manga. Laeta Kalogridis — who just did an unbelievable job turning Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island into a script — previously worked on Battle Angel with Cameron, and the trio hopes to mine the concept for another story about what it means to be human. Prepare yourselves for more complaints about it being a “total rip-off.”