Fox Fetes Avatar Premiere With Nods to Big-Budget Effects

By Rosalba Curiel December 17, 2009, 5:48 PM EST

Twentieth Century Fox's Avatar Premiere

Photo: Dale Wilcox

Twentieth Century Fox's Avatar Premiere
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In Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar, James Cameron draws upon new 3-D technology and a rumored budget of more than $300 million to create Pandora, an alien moon with glowing flora, fierce fauna, and a blue-skinned race of native people known as the Na’vi. Rather than pull looks or props directly from the film’s scenes for the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and after-party at the Hollywood and Highland ballroom Wednesday night, Fox’s Len Iannelli and Michelle Emmitt evoked a general sense of the film’s fictional world through more subtle touches.

“The film’s spectacle is, of course, impossible to recreate at an after-party,” said Iannelli in an email. “Instead, Avatar [inspired] the evening’s unique environment.”

Such inspiration took shape in the form of the Na’vi-colored carpet that ran down Hollywood Boulevard, outside the theater. Posters and a 3-D step-and-repeat—a nod to the film’s advances in the technology—lined the unconventionally colored carpet. For those who couldn’t join crowds of fans lining Hollywood Boulevard, UStream featured a live Webcast of celebrity arrivals.

Inside the theater, guests found popcorn packaged in boxes decorated with Na’vi characters, but the blue creatures that figured so prominently in the film were completely absent from the after-party. “The only image from the movie we were allowed to use was the six-letter Avatar logo,” said Joel Goldman of Entertainment Lighting Services. “We had to custom create the environment of the movie from scratch without exactly duplicating it.” Goldman and his team installed roving blue lighting fixtures that projected leaf patterns to channel the lush forest landscape of Pandora.

Iannelli and Emmitt turned to Poko Event Productions to design the Pandora-inspired look of the party, which included verdant centerpieces featuring moss and mini tree-trunks that sat atop tables or nestled in hollow plastic ottomans. Large planet-like balloons hanging from the ceiling also helped add an other-worldly quality to the event.

The 1,100 guests sampled a menu by Wolfgang Puck throughout the party, which ended around 1:30 a.m.

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