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Blockbuster sci-fi film 'Avatar' opens in U.S. theaters

Blockbuster sci-fi film 'Avatar' opens in U.S. theaters


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December 16, 2009 sees the U.S. release of the blockbuster science fiction film Avatar. One of the most expensive films ever made, it was also one of the most successful, holding the title of highest-grossing film of all time for nearly a decade.

Director James Cameron was no stranger to massive, ambitious projects, having achieved acclaim and enormous box office success with films like The Terminator and Titanic. A lifelong science fiction fan, he wrote a treatment for Avatar in 1994 but delayed the project because he felt the technology required did not yet exist. Finally, in 2006, the project began to take shape.

Avatar is the story of a human soldier who takes an alien form in order to explore and infiltrate the Na’vi race of the planet Pandora, which humans intend to exploit for its natural resources. Like Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke—one of its major influences—Avatar is an action-adventure movie with heavy environmentalist and anti-imperialist overtones. Cameron stated that, in addition to warning about environmental degradation, the film was also a critique of the Iraq War, then in its sixth year.

The film made use—in many cases, the first use—of a number of advances in motion-capture technology and computer-generated imagery. Over 900 people worked on the digital effects, and the film officially cost $237 million, although there is speculation that the actual budget ran as high as $310 million. Avatar was not the first major 3D movie, but it contributed greatly to the mainstream release of films in 3D.

Avatar was an immediate hit, supplanting Titanic as the new highest-grossing film of all time. Reviews were largely positive, although some felt the film was heavy-handed or derivative of other stories, most obviously Pocahontas. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning the Oscar for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Special Effects. Though many of its innovations are commonplace or even outdated today, Avatar is remembered for ushering in a new age of CGI-heavy blockbusters. It was one such film, Avengers: Endgame, which finally surpassed Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time in April of 2019.

READ MORE: The True Stories That Inspired ‘Titanic’ Movie Characters


Can Avatar Become the First-Ever $3 Billion Movie at the Box Office?

As Avatar has once again taken the title as the highest-grossing movie in history, another record may be in sight.

James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, once again, stands alone as the highest-grossing movie in box office history. The movie was recently re-released in China, as theaters in the country have reopened and seen steady business in recent months. It earned just enough to put it in front of Avengers: Endgame, which took the title from Avatar in the summer of 2019. But now, Cameron is back in charge as the unquestioned king of the box office. An important, if seemingly crazy question must now be asked can Avatar become the first movie in history to cross the $3 billion dollar mark?

First, let's look at where things stand. With the recent grosses added upon its Chinese re-release, as of this writing, Avatar has earned just over $2.81 billion worldwide. That puts it above Avengers: Endgame, which had managed to bring in just shy of $2.8 billion during its record-breaking run in 2019. That means, Avatar would need to add an additional $189 million, give or take a few hundred thousand, to crack the $3 billion mark.

That would put us in truly unprecedented territory. Especially considering that only five movies in history have ever crossed the $2 billion mark. And two of those movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.06 billion) and Avengers: Infinity War ($2.04 billion) are, relatively speaking, just barely in that elite club. The fifth movie being another James Cameron blockbuster in the form of 1997's Titanic which, over time, has climbed its way to $2.2 billion, good enough for the number three spot. Though that also illustrates the insane rarity, almost bordering on impossible fluke, that is Avatar.

Before diving into how Avatar could, and I stress could get to $3 billion, it is worth looking at how the movie made its money in the first place. Unlike Avengers: Endgame, which had an Earth-shattering $357 million domestic opening weekend, then inched its way to $2.8 billion, Avatar opened, somewhat humbly by comparison, to $77 million domestically in December 2009. But the drop-off was not sharp. It declined less than 2 percent in its second weekend, taking in another $75 million. And it just kept going, and going, with a similar pattern emerging overseas.

Eventually, after months in theaters, it had amassed nearly $2 billion in international grosses to go with around $750 million domestically. Its path to the top was not a typical one for a major blockbuster. It didn't have one big weekend only to fall off the face of the Earth in a matter of weeks. This was, to use a possibly outdated reference, the Energizer Bunny of blockbusters. It just kept going and going. It is also worth pointing out that premium format theaters, such as 3D and IMAX, which generally carry a higher ticket price, were a huge factor.

But that was 2009. This is now. Much has changed. For one, it remains to be seen just how much of an Avatar fanbase there is out there. Was this purely an of its moment thing? Does it have staying power? Is it timeless, as director James Cameron has suggested? That will be the million-dollar question in the coming months as we speed toward the release of Avatar 2 (as well as Avatar 3, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5). Because it's the interest in those sequels that could, in turn, provide a huge boost to the original movie that Disney hopes will become a multi-billion dollar, multi-movie franchise.

Because Avatar was released so long ago, Disney will inevitably re-release the movie elsewhere as the box office begins to stabilize around the world. Particularly, we should expect a big, flashy re-release in the months leading up to the release of Avatar 2 in December 2022. If audiences turn up to reacquaint themselves with the world of Pandora en masse in anticipation of the long-awaited sequel, $3 billion could be in reach. Though it is, admittedly, a stretch.

Even in the best of cases, a blockbuster's re-release in theaters has its limits. Take, for example, the 20th-anniversary re-release of Jurassic Park in 2013. Steven Spielberg's beloved dino-filled adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel of the same name took in $118.1 million during its run. This was, again, aided by 3D tickets at the time. The other example, when looking at the established ceiling for this sort of thing, is 1997's release of the Star Wars special editions by George Lucas. A New Hope took in a truly impressive $138.2 million during its domestic re-release. The Empire Strikes Back earned $67.5 million while Return of the Jedi notched an additional $45.4 million. And this is Star Wars we're talking about.


30 Mind-Blowing Sci-Fi Movies Everyone Should Watch in Their Lifetime

From aliens and outer space to time travel and A.I., we take a look at some of the most iconic sci-fi flicks ever.

When it comes to great movies, there's no film genre as infinitely creative or original as sci-fi &mdash especially when you consider how expansive the subject matter of science fiction really is. In fact, just like survival movies and end-of-the-world movies, there's truly not much that the sci-fi genre hasn't already explored on screen. (Think aliens and outer space, time travel, technology, artificial intelligence &mdash you name it!) To honor this long-beloved genre that's produced a whole lot of spectacular, mind-bending films, we've rounded up some of the best sci-fi movies to date, spanning from iconic classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey to new modern favorites such as The Matrix and Inception.

Of course, the great thing about sci-fi is that there's truly something on the list for everyone: from exhilarating action movies and heart-pumping horror-thriller hybrids, to even romantic films that set a poignant love story against a futuristic setting. Regardless of the particular subject matter, though, any one of these sci-fi films will be a great pick for a truly thrilling, awe-inspiring watch &mdash and will definitely lead you to reflect, wonder, and marvel at life's mere possibilities.


Box Office: ‘Tenet’ Kicks Off With $20 Million in the U.S., Nears $150 Million Globally

After months of delays, Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic “Tenet” finally arrived in U.S. theaters and generated $20.2 million over Labor Day weekend. Ticket sales, though difficult to dissect given the uncharted waters of the coronavirus era, are roughly in line with expectations for a new release during a pandemic.

The espionage thriller is already nearing the $150 million mark globally, thanks to a stronger showing at the international box office. Overseas, “Tenet” earned another $78.3 million this weekend, bringing its worldwide haul to $146.2 million.

The domestic debut for Nolan’s latest includes ticket sales from preview screenings that started on Monday in the U.S. and Canada. In pre-coronavirus times, “Tenet” would have seen much more substantial opening weekend figures. However, it’s launching in a vastly different environment since numerous theaters in the country are out of operation.

“With a significant number of key U.S. states and cities still closed, this is a fair opening,” said David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research. “Business in the U.S. is improving, but large numbers of moviegoers are not back yet. For now, this is as good as it gets.”

“Tenet” was able to play in about 2,800 cinemas across the country, a smaller footprint than normal for a wide release of this size. But Warner Bros., the studio behind the twisty thriller, is banking on it being enough to rationalize unspooling the mega-budgeted film after months of delays. Currently, about 65-70% of multiplexes in the U.S. have reopened, though influential markets like New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco are still off limits. That likely shaved millions of dollars off of “Tenet’s” grosses.

Drive-in theaters have been a boon for cities where indoor cinemas can’t reopen yet. However, Warner Bros. issued guidelines that restricted the areas where “Tenet” can play outdoors. They mandated that the film can only screen at drive-in theaters if indoor venues in that particular city are open. That means drive-ins in Los Angeles and San Fransisco, both of which have been doing robust ticket sales during the pandemic, didn’t have access to one of the buzziest titles of the year.

“Tenet” is the first major blockbuster to debut in the U.S. after the pandemic forced theaters to close in March. It was originally slated to bow in July but was postponed multiple times as cases of the virus continued to surge. While other anticipated titles — like “Fast and Furious” entry “F9” and Marvel’s “Black Widow” — pushed their openings into late 2020 or 2021, “Tenet” remained fluid with the hopes of welcoming audiences back after prolonged shutdowns.

Though “Tenet” started playing in theaters on Thursday, Warner Bros. opted not to report grosses until Sunday. Hollywood has been looking to “Tenet” as an indicator of the viability of the movie theater business during a global health crisis. Many exhibitors reopened their cinemas in time to screen “Tenet,” and they are banking on pent-up demand to see a movie on the big screen for the first time in months.

Ticket buyers who ventured out to see “Tenet” in theaters opted to see it in the best quality possible. Imax screens accounted for $11.1 million of global sales this weekend.

China, where “Tenet” premiered on Friday, pulled in more than $8 million in ticket sales on opening day and $30 million over the weekend. When it comes to restarting business, the country is well ahead of the U.S. Already, China has seen notable success with war epic “The Eight Hundred,” which has grossed over $300 million to date.

“Though the box office trajectory in North America will look quite different for ‘Tenet’ than in the international marketplace, the film may actually see its fortunes rise in the coming weeks as more and more cities open their multiplex doors,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore.

The hope, among studios and theater owners alike, is that extensive safety measures will make audiences feel more comfortable returning to indoor spaces in the coming weeks.

“Tenet,” led by John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, cost $200 million to make — and many millions more to globally promote. That means the time-bending thriller needs to pull in robust ticket sales to turn a profit. Audiences gave the film a “B” CinemaScore, lower than usual for Nolan’s filmography. But without much competition from other Hollywood movies, Warner Bros. is optimistic that “Tenet” will play in theaters for months to come.

When it comes to competition, “Tenet’s” biggest rival may be coming from the small screen. “Mulan,” Disney’s reimagining of 1998 cartoon, is skipping U.S. theaters and launching this weekend on Disney Plus. The family movie is available to rent on the studio’s streaming service for $30.

In areas where Disney Plus is not available, “Mulan” is opening on the big screen. The fantasy epic — directed by Niki Caro and starring Liu Yifei — drew $5.9 million from nine international markets, including Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. “Mulan” opens in China and Russia next weekend.

In weeks since theaters have started to resume business, a handful of new releases, such as “The New Mutants,” Russell Crowe’s road-rage thriller “Unhinged” and “The Personal History of David Copperfield” starring Dev Patel, have debuted.

Disney and 20th Century’s “The New Mutants” is aiming to generate $3.5 million through Labor Day, taking its North American bounty to $12.3 million.

Searchlight’s “David Copperfield” is expected to pull in $470,000 from 1,550 theaters over the four-day holiday weekend. That should push its domestic tally to $1.13 million through Monday.

“Unhinged,” in its third weekend in theaters,” made $655,000 on Saturday and looks to collect $1.67 million over the weekend. Through Monday, the movie is projecting $11.67 million total.


Contents

1985–1997: David Cook era and early growth Edit

Blockbuster's beginnings can be traced back to another company, Cook Data Services, founded by David Cook in 1978. [3] [20] The company's primary goal was to supply software services to the oil and gas industries throughout Texas, but it was very unsuccessful. [20] Sandy Cook, David's wife, wanted to get into the video business, and her husband would soon study the industry and future prospects. [21] Using profit he made from the sale of David P. Cook & Associates, the subsidiary of his company, he decided to buy into a video store franchise in Dallas known as Video Works. When Video Works would not allow him to decorate the interior of his store with a blue-and-yellow design, he departed the franchise and opened the first Blockbuster Video in 1985 under his own company Blockbuster Video Inc. [22] [23] When he realized the potential in video rentals, Cook abandoned the oil industry and began franchising the Blockbuster store. [24]

The first Blockbuster store opened on October 19, 1985, in Dallas, Texas, with an inventory of 8,000 VHS and 2,000 Beta tapes. [25] [26] [27] The chain's name is derived from the term blockbuster, a Hollywood term for a successful film, or in literature terminology, a best-selling novel. Cook's experience with managing huge databases proved helpful in driving innovation within the industry. [3] Following early success from the company's first stores, Cook built a $6-million warehouse in Garland, Texas, to help sustain and support future growth that allowed new stores to open quickly. [3] Blockbuster would often custom-tailor a store's inventory to its neighborhood, based on local demographics. [3]

In 1987, Waste Management co-founder Wayne Huizenga, who originally had reservations about entering the video rental industry, agreed to acquire several Blockbuster stores. [28] At that point the number of stores numbered 19, attracting Huizenga's associate John Melk's attention due to its efficiency, family-friendly no porn image and business model. Huizenga and Melk utilized techniques from their waste business and Ray Kroc's model of expansion to rapidly expand Blockbuster, and soon they were opening a new store every 24 hours. [29] [30] They took over many of the existing Blockbuster franchise stores, and Huizenga spent much of the late 1980s acquiring several of Blockbuster's rivals, including Major Video. In 1989, Nintendo attempted to halt Blockbuster's ability to rent video games, filing multiple lawsuits and lobbying the U.S. Congress to ban the practice. [31] Nintendo ultimately lost the battle, which paved the way for future video game rental. [31] [32]

In 1990, Blockbuster bought mid-Atlantic rival Erol's which had more than 250 stores. [33] In 1992, Blockbuster acquired the Sound Warehouse and Music Plus music retail chains and created Blockbuster Music. [34] [35] In October 1993, Blockbuster took a controlling interest in Spelling Entertainment Group, a media company run by television producer Aaron Spelling. [36] Blockbuster purchased Super Club Retail Entertainment Corp. on November 22, 1993 from Philips Electronics, N.V. for 5.2 million shares of Blockbuster stock. This brought approximately 270 Record Bar, Tracks, Turtles and Rhythm and Views music stores and approximately 160 video retail superstores into the corporation. [37] It also owned 35% of Republic Pictures that company merged with Spelling in April 1994. [38]

Blockbuster became a multibillion-dollar company, but Huizenga was worried about how new technology could threaten their business, such as video on demand and the growth of cable television. In 1991, just three days after Time Warner had announced it would upgrade its cable system, Blockbuster's shares dropped more than 10 percent. [39] In 1993, he made an attempt to expand into other areas by investing in Viacom. [40] [41] Huizenga also considered buying a cable company, but this was unknown territory for Blockbuster and he decided not to take the risk. He also had the idea of a 2,500-acre Blockbuster sports and amusement park in Florida, something Blockbuster was still considering as late as August 1994. [42] Unable to come up with a proper solution about how to face the growing threats to the traditional videostore, he made the decision to sell Blockbuster to Viacom and pull out. [43] Viacom acquired Blockbuster in 1994 for $8.4 billion to help finance its bid for Paramount in the bidding war with QVC Network Inc. [44] [45] Blockbuster's stock trade had been dropping steadily the months before the merger, with a small rise after the deal was announced, [46] and by the latter part of the decade, its worth was estimated to have fallen to just $4.6 billion. [47]

The Blockbuster Block Party concept was test-marketed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1994. It was an "entertainment complex" aimed at adults, containing eight themed areas housing a restaurant, games, laser tag arena, and motion simulator rides, and was housed in a windowless building the size of a city block. [48]

During the 1990s Blockbuster expanded in the United Kingdom, purchasing that country's Ritz Video chain. The stores were rebranded to Blockbuster. [ citation needed ]

The original Blockbuster company, Blockbuster Video Inc., was merged into the parent company Blockbuster Entertainment Inc. which had earlier replaced the Blockbuster Entertainment Company. In 1996, Blockbuster Entertainment Inc. merged into a new Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation [7] and the retail stores, then called Blockbuster Video, were renamed Blockbuster. The logo changed slightly, but retained the ITC Machine font. [49] In November 1996 Blockbuster confirmed that it was moving its headquarters from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Renaissance Tower in downtown Dallas. [50] Most of the workers at the Florida headquarters did not want to relocate, so Blockbuster planned to hire around 500 to 600 new employees for its Dallas headquarters. The company had offered various relocation packages to all of its Fort Lauderdale staff. [51] The second Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation was later merged into Blockbuster, Inc. [ citation needed ]

1997–2007: John Antioco era, Netflix turndown, and financial peak Edit

In June 1997, Taco Bell president John Antioco resigned from the company to become CEO of Blockbuster. [52] Also that year, Warner Bros. offered Antioco an exclusive rental deal, seeing as DVDs were emerging as the new home video medium. Blockbuster was to have rights to rent new DVD releases for a period of time before they went on sale to the general public. The studio was to receive 40% of rental revenues in return, which was the same deal already in place for VHS rentals. Blockbuster turned the offer down, and the studio responded by lowering its DVD wholesale price in order to compete with the rental industry. Walmart seized the opportunity and in a few years surpassed Blockbuster as the studios' single largest source of revenue. Other mass retailers soon followed suit. Many began selling DVDs below wholesale price in hopes of selling more items with better profit margins as a result of the additional foot traffic in their stores. Unable to match prices, Blockbuster's business model was severely impacted. [53]

In 1998, Blockbuster created DEJ Productions, which acquired 225 films primarily to provide exclusive content to its Blockbuster stores prior to being sold off to First Look Studios in 2005. [54] During that same year, Blockbuster bought the Irish video rental store Xtra-vision, with over 200 stores in Ireland and the UK. In 2009, Blockbuster sold off its Irish operations to Birchall Investments, with the few Xtra-vision stores in the UK being rebranded as Blockbuster.

In late 1998, Blockbuster launched a loyalty program called Blockbuster Rewards that allowed customers to earn free rentals, including one older title each month from the category of Blockbuster Favorites. After the 1998 test launch, the chain went nationwide with the program in 1999. [55]

In August the same year, Viacom sold the Blockbuster Music chain to Wherehouse Entertainment, which was subsequently purchased by Trans World Entertainment in 2003. [56]

In mid-2000, the company partnered with Enron in an attempt to create a video-on-demand service. [57] The agreement was supposed to last for 20 years however, Enron terminated the deal in March 2001 over fears that Blockbuster would not be able to provide sufficient films for the service. [58] Also in 2000, Blockbuster turned down a chance to purchase the fledgling Netflix for $50 million. [59]

In 2002, Blockbuster acquired Movie Trading Company, a Dallas chain that buys, sells, and trades movies and games, to study potential business models for DVD and game trading. Also that year, it acquired Gamestation, a 64-store UK computer and console games retailer chain, and purchased DVD Rental Central for $1 million, an Arizona father-and-son online DVD-rental company with about ten thousand subscribers. DVD Rental Central would eventually become Blockbuster Online. [60]

On or around October 14, 2004, Blockbuster was spun-off from Viacom. Online DVD subscriptions were introduced on Blockbuster.com, also known as Blockbuster Online. [61] Blockbuster also rolled out its "Game Rush" store-in-store concept to approximately 450 domestic company-operated stores. Blockbuster began game and DVD trading in selected U.S. stores. [62]

At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster had more than 9,000 stores worldwide. [9] In December 2004, Blockbuster announced its intention to pursue a hostile takeover of Hollywood Video, its major U.S. competitor. [63] After several extensions of the tender offer, Blockbuster withdrew due to FTC opposition. [64] To counter the Blockbuster offer, Hollywood Video agreed to a buyout in January 2005 by a smaller competitor, the Dothan, Alabama-based Movie Gallery. Since then, Movie Gallery has filed for bankruptcy twice and its entire chain of stores has been liquidated.

In May 2005, financier Carl Icahn waged a successful proxy fight to add himself and two other members to the board. Icahn accused Blockbuster of overpaying chairman and CEO John F. Antioco, who had served in that capacity since 1997, receiving $51.6 million in compensation for 2004. Icahn was also at odds with Antioco on how to revive profit at Blockbuster. Antioco scrapped late fees in January, started an internet service, and decided to keep the company independent, while Icahn wanted to sell out to a private equity firm. [65] Also in 2005, Blockbuster began a campaign promoting its "No more late fees" policy. [66] The campaign proved controversial, with Associated Press reporting that the new policy actually charged users the full price of the movie or game after eight days which they could cancel by returning the product in question and paying a fee. [67] More than 40 states filed suit against the company for false advertising. [67] Blockbuster later settled the suit by agreeing to refunds, as well as promising to better explain the policy. [67]

Vintage Stock acquired the Movie Trading Company name from Blockbuster in 2006, and continues to use the name for Dallas-area stores. [68]

A billion-dollar campaign called "Total Access" was introduced in 2007 as a strategy against Netflix. Through Blockbuster Online, customers could rent a DVD online and receive a new movie for free when they returned it to a Blockbuster store. While it was a major success every free movie cost the company two dollars, but the hope was that it would attract enough new subscribers to cover the loss. Netflix felt threatened, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings approached Antioco with a suggestion to buy Blockbuster's online business. In return, a new system would be introduced where customers could return their movies to a Blockbuster store. Before the deal could be realized, board member Carl Icahn intervened, refusing to let the company lose more money through Total Access. Antioco was pushed out in July and replaced with James Keyes, who rejected Hastings' proposal, raised the price of online DVD rentals and put an end to the free movie deal. As a consequence, Blockbuster Online's previously massive growth quickly stopped. [69] Antioco's departure reportedly also involved continued controversy over his compensation. He left with a $24.7 million severance package. [70]

On June 19, 2007, after a pilot program launched in late 2006, Blockbuster announced that it had chosen Blu-ray over HD DVD format to rent in a majority of its stores. In the pilot program, Blockbuster offered selected titles for rental and sale in 250 stores. Blockbuster stocked Blu-ray titles in almost 5,000 stores across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Australia. [71]

2007–2011: James Keyes era, financial decline, and bankruptcy Edit

On July 2, 2007, the company named James W. Keyes, former president and CEO of 7-Eleven, as the new chairman and CEO. He introduced a new business strategy that included enhancements to existing stores. The following month in August, Blockbuster acquired Movielink for $6.6 million, forecasting a shift to streaming video. [72] Movielink was an online video service that allowed customers to download movie rentals from a library of over 6,000 films, created in 2002 by five major studios including Warner Bros, MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Universal Studios. [73] The move gave Blockbuster the opportunity to move away from the unprofitable Total Access (DVD-by-mail) service in favor of online streaming. Despite growing competition from Netflix and Redbox, the company downplayed the threat, choosing instead to focus on Apple and Walmart as their primary competition. [74]

On September 14, 2007, Blockbuster GB Ltd bought a number of retail stores from ChoicesUK plc. ChoicesUK is an AIM-listed multi-channel distributor and retailer of DVDs, computer games, and CDs. The sale secured employment for approximately 450 employees across 59 stores in the UK. As part of the transaction, Blockbuster GB rebranded the stores as Blockbuster. [ citation needed ]

On February 17, 2008, Blockbuster proposed a buyout of struggling Circuit City. However, after a due diligence review of Circuit City's financial books, Blockbuster withdrew its offer in July 2008. Analysts were not favorable to the proposed deal, viewing it as a desperate effort to save two struggling retailers rather than a bold turnaround initiative. [75] Subsequently, Circuit City filed for bankruptcy on November 10, 2008 and, after liquidating all of its stores, ceased operations on March 8, 2009. [76]

At the beginning of 2010, Blockbuster had over 6,500 stores, of which 4,000 were in the U.S.— [77] a number that fell to 3,425 in late October the same year. [78] In the United States it planned to close between 810 and 960 retail stores, and instead launch as many as 10,000 "Blockbuster Express" video rental kiosks by the middle of 2010. [79] It has been claimed that more than 43 million U.S. households had Blockbuster memberships. [80]

On February 10, 2010, Blockbuster announced that it would cease all its operations in Portugal, closing down 17 outlets and leaving over 100 workers unemployed. Blockbuster representatives in Portugal blamed internet piracy and the lack of government response to it as the key factors to the company's failure in the country. [81]

In March 2010, Blockbuster began "Additional Daily Rates", or "ADRs", for rentals not returned by their due date in the United States, having already used this procedure in other countries such as the UK for many years. An ADR was charged for each day a member kept the rental beyond the rental terms. On March 12, 2010, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Blockbuster's independent registered public accounting firm, issued its audit opinion disclosing substantial doubt about Blockbuster's ability to continue as a going concern. This report was included in Blockbusters's 10-K SEC filing. On March 17, 2010, Blockbuster issued a bankruptcy warning after continued drops in revenue threatened its ability to service its nearly $1 billion debt load. By April 1, 2010, Carl Icahn had resigned from Blockbuster's board of directors and sold nearly all his remaining Blockbuster stock. [82] Blockbuster paired up with Time Warner to have Warner Bros. movies made available in Blockbuster stores on the DVD release date and not be subject to a four-week delay. [ citation needed ] Similar agreements were also made with Universal and 20th Century Fox.

The liquidation of Movie Gallery began in May 2010, eliminating Blockbuster's primary competitor. During the same month a dissident shareholder, Gregory S. Meyer, in an effort to be elected to Blockbuster's board of directors, engaged in a proxy battle with Blockbuster's board, alleging that the board had been responsible for significant destruction of value to shareholders. Meyer was elected to the board at Blockbuster's shareholder meeting in Dallas on June 24, 2010.

On July 1, 2010, the company was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after its shareholders failed to pass a reverse stock split plan aimed at heading off involuntary delisting because of the stock's trading at well below $1 per share. [83] The stock was then traded on the OTCBB (over-the-counter bulletin board).

Blockbuster was unable to make a $42.4 million interest payment to bondholders and was given until August 13, 2010, to pay off the debt. The company hired Jeff Stegenga to be its chief restructuring officer (CRO) in an effort to satisfy bondholder demands and recapitalize the company. After failing to pay on August 13, bondholders gave Blockbuster until September 30, 2010.

On August 26, 2010, news media reported that Blockbuster was planning to file a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-September. In light of this news, the company's chief financial officer (CFO), Tom Casey, resigned on September 11. He was replaced by Dennis McGill, formerly CFO of Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. On September 23, 2010, Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to challenging losses, $900 million in debt, and strong competition from Netflix, Redbox, and video on-demand services. [84] [85] Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation earlier in 2010 for similar reasons. [86]

At the time of its Chapter 11 filing, Blockbuster said it would keep its 3,300 stores open [87] however, that December it announced it would close an additional 182 stores by the end of April 2011 in attempts to emerge from bankruptcy. [88] It was reported in February 2011 that Blockbuster and its creditors had not come up with a Chapter 11 exit plan and that the company would be sold for $300 million or more, along with taking over debts and leases. [87] Blockbuster admitted that it might not be able to meet financial obligations required under its Chapter 11 filing, a circumstance which could mandate conversion of the bankruptcy filing to Chapter 7 (liquidation). [89] On March 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a claim disclosing that Blockbuster did not have the funds to continue reorganizing and should liquidate.

On March 28, 2011, South Korean telecommunications company SK Telecom made a surprise bid to buy Blockbuster. [90] Dish Network had also expressed interest in bidding, as did Carl Icahn, despite calling Blockbuster "the worst investment I ever made". [91] Dish eventually won the auction on April 6, 2011, agreeing to buy Blockbuster for $320 million and the assumption of $87 million in liabilities and other obligations. [14] On April 19, 2011, it was announced that Dish would keep only 500 Blockbuster stores open. The acquisition was completed on April 26, 2011. [15] [92] In April 2011, Dish Network told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that it needed more time to negotiate with landlords in an effort to keep more than 600 Blockbuster stores open. [93]

In April 2011, Blockbuster's landlords objected to its assumption of leases that it sought to assign to soon-to-be-owner Dish Network Corp., claiming that they did not have adequate assurance that the new owner would honor those leases. Blockbuster signed a deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment to launch ITV Programmes released on DVDs, Blu-rays, etc. [94] On May 6, 2011, Keyes resigned as Blockbuster's CEO.

2011–2015: Michael Kelly era Edit

Keyes was replaced by Michael Kelly under the new title of Blockbuster's president. On August 31, 2011, the liquidators announced the closure of the remaining 253 Canadian stores and shutting of the entire Canadian unit. [95] In September 2011, it was announced that Blockbuster and Dish Network would launch a new service called Blockbuster Movie Pass that would compete with Netflix. For US$10 per month the members would have access to both a streaming service and movies and games-by-mail. The package was only available for subscribers of Dish Network's pay-TV service, and it eventually folded. [96] [97]

On January 13, 2012, Dish CEO Joe Clayton announced that while Dish had planned to keep 90% of the stores in operation, meaning around 15,000 employees would remain employed, because of market factors "there are ones that aren't going to make it. We will close unprofitable stores. We will close additional stores." Clayton did not say when these additional closings would happen and only remarked that some stores were unprofitable. The Dish chief would not say which stores the company was planning to close, but that each potential closing was to be assessed on a "case by case basis". [98]

On October 4, 2012, Dish Network announced that it was scrapping plans to make Blockbuster into a Netflix competitor. [99] On January 16, 2013, Blockbuster UK entered into administration and Deloitte was appointed to run the business while trying to find a buyer while some of the stores remained open. [ citation needed ] [100] Between November 6, 2013, and January 12, 2014, all 300 remaining corporate-owned Blockbuster stores in the U.S. were closed and the DVD-by-mail program was shut down. [101] [102] [103] [104] The Blockbuster official website identified 51 franchise locations remaining in operation in the U.S. in 2014. [105] Dish maintained its video streaming services, Blockbuster on Demand and [email protected], [106] until they were replaced by a new subscription service in April 2015 called "DISH Movie Pack". [107] [108] In May 2015, Michael Kelly retired from Dish. [109]

Blockbuster's decline was attributed to poor leadership according to others in the industry. Previous franchise owner Ken Tisher said in 2015, "Blockbuster, if it isn't already, is going to go into the Harvard Business Review for how not to run a business, or how to run a business into the ground." [110] Keith Hoogland, owner of Family Video, attributed poor decision-making as a primary reason the company did not survive. [111] Jonathan Salem Baskin, a former Blockbuster marketing communications executive, stated, "Digital would have changed Blockbuster's business, for sure, but it wasn't its killer. That credit belongs to Blockbuster itself." [112] Commentators view Blockbuster as a main example of failing to change with the times. [113] [114] [115]

2015–present: Post-Kelly era and the Last Blockbuster Edit

Although Blockbuster stores could remain open by paying a licensing fee to Dish, [116] there was no longer a corporate entity to provide supplies of branded products, forcing franchisees to design and produce their own. [117] Additional store closures would continue. [118] [119] [120] By January 2018, [121] the company's website listed nine remaining franchise-owned stores in the U.S., including six in Alaska, two in Oregon, and one in Texas. [122] [123] Eight of those nine had closed by August 2018, leaving only one store in Bend, Oregon. [19] [124] [125] In March 2019, the last remaining store outside of the United States, located in Morley, Western Australia, closed its doors. [17] The Bend location became the last remaining Blockbuster in the world [18] it houses Russell Crowe film props which John Oliver had donated to an Alaska store. [126] In August 2020, the location was listed as an Airbnb rental for a 1990s-themed sleepover on three separate nights in September each were limited to guests from the area in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. [127] [128]

The entity that operated Blockbuster prior to the sale to Dish remains nominally active under the name BB Liquidating Inc., and trades as a penny stock. [129] However, it no longer has any assets or ties to the Blockbuster brand or its remaining franchise location. [130] In activity related to the GameStop short squeeze of January 2021, the BB Liquidating stock surged, despite there being "no value for the common shareholders in the bankruptcy liquidation process, even under the most optimistic of scenarios." [131]

The standard business model for video rental stores had traditionally been to pay a large flat fee per video, approximately $65, and offer unlimited rentals for the lifetime of the medium itself. Sumner Redstone, whose Viacom conglomerate then owned Blockbuster, personally pioneered a new revenue-sharing arrangement for video in the mid-1980s. Blockbuster obtained videos for little cost and kept 60% of the rental fee, paying the other 40% to the studio, and reporting rental information through the global media measurement and research company Rentrak. In addition to benefiting from a lower initial price, Blockbuster also capitalized on the fact that movies were generally not available for purchase at affordable price points during initial release periods. Thus customers had a choice to rent, wait, or buy the film on tape at the much higher manufacturer's suggested retail price targeted at other rental chains and film enthusiasts, which at that time ranged between $70–$100 per title. [ citation needed ]

Quantity and selection of titles Edit

Blockbuster stores followed a strategy of emphasizing access to the most popular new releases, obtaining early access and stocking many copies of the new-release titles, with a relatively smaller depth of selection than traditional independent video stores. [132] Much of the shelf space in the stores was devoted to popular titles that were placed relatively sparsely on the shelves with the entire front cover visible, so customers could browse casually and quickly, rather than having a more diverse selection with fewer copies of each title. Blockbuster sometimes contracted with studios to obtain earlier access to new titles than other companies could achieve. Examples of such contracts were those in which Blockbuster became the exclusive rental chain for new releases from WWE (or World Wrestling Federation), Funimation, Rhino, Paramount, DreamWorks, DWA, Universal, Lionsgate, Summit, Anchor Bay, Manga, The Weinstein Company, Dimension, Miramax, Hollywood, Touchstone, Disney, Buena Vista, 20th Century Fox, MGM/UA, Orion, Sony, Columbia, Tristar, Image, Shout! Factory, Warner Bros., HBO, New Line Cinema and Allumination FilmWorks. [133] [134] As one commentator complained, "Blockbuster was once an unstoppable giant whose franchises swept across the country putting mom and pop video stores out of business left and right by offering a larger selection of new releases, pricing them at a lower point due to the volume they worked in. Gone were the fragmented, independently owned shops that were often unorganized treasure troves of VHS discoveries. In their place were walls of new releases: hundreds of copies of a small handful of films. Everyone watching the same thing, everyone developing the same limited set of expectations. They put focus entirely on what was new rather than on discovering film history . " [132]

When a title was no longer a new release, each store would retain a few copies of it and typically sell off the rest as "previously viewed" for discounted prices. [135] Older movies would be re-categorized as "Blockbuster Favorite" titles and placed in a different area of the store. [136] Most Blockbuster locations also accepted trade-ins of used movies, TV shows, and games. [137]

Since Blockbuster's founding in 1985, the chain refused to stock adult films in order to portray the brand as family-friendly. [138] However, the company did carry R-rated and unrated films.

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Edit

Blockbuster Entertainment Inc. ran an awards show annually from 1995 to 2001 called the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. In November 2001, Blockbuster announced that it would cancel the 2002 award show following concerns about viewership and celebrity attendance after the September 11 attacks. [139] [140]

Blockbuster Express Edit

Blockbuster Express was a movie-rental kiosk brand sublicensed for use by licensee NCR Corporation. In 2011, nearly 10,000 Blockbuster Express kiosks were in operation. [141] [142] Apart from the license to use the Blockbuster brand name, Blockbuster Express kiosks are unrelated to Blockbuster LLC, its stores, its DVD-by-mail service, or its online streaming service.

The names Blockbuster Express [143] and Blockbuster Video Express [144] had also been used for certain Blockbuster retail stores in the United Kingdom.

GameRush Edit

In 2004, Blockbuster opened store-within-a-store video game rental and sales stores called GameRush inside Blockbuster locations in limited markets. [145] Blockbuster also acquired Rhino Video Games, a chain of video game stores in the Southwest, and renamed them Game Rush. [146] These stores sold and bought DVDs, games, game consoles, and accessories. GameRush was positioned as a direct competitor to stores such as GameStop and Game Crazy. Blockbuster used its location status to get instant coverage it also promoted these stores by hosting video-game tournaments, special trade-in offers, and a more 'hip' look to the selection and staff. However, when Blockbuster introduced the discontinuation of late fees, GameRush was put on the chopping block. In January 2007, Blockbuster sold Rhino Video Games to GameStop Corp. [147] According to the Blockbuster Twitter account, GameRush was to be part of the "new Blockbuster" in 2016 [148] and even had its own Twitter profile, however neither the GameRush nor Blockbuster Twitter accounts have been active since January 2017.

Discovery Zone Edit

In 1993, Blockbuster invested in the indoor kids' play restaurant Discovery Zone. [149] In 1995, Blockbuster bought more stock to take control of the company. Discovery Zone abruptly closed half of its locations in 1999 and sold thirteen others to the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese's. [149] The rest of the Discovery Zone locations closed in December 2001. The chain was revived as a single location in Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 7, 2020. It remains in operation, but it is not owned by Blockbuster. [150]

Australia Edit

In Australia, the first Blockbuster store was opened in 1991 in Melbourne. In 1992, the Virgin Group and Blockbuster Inc entered into a joint venture to set up Australia's first Virgin Megastores in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. This lasted until Virgin sold its interest in the six stores to Blockbuster, which promptly rebranded them in 1993 as Blockbuster Music. In 1994, Australian store numbers rose to 54 with the acquisition of Major Video and Focus chains in both Victoria and South Australia. In 1995, the growth continued with the opening of the 100th video store in the country. By the end of 1998, Blockbuster Australia opened over 125 stores. In July 1998, Blockbuster Australia launched into franchising with the conversion of the former Video Flicks franchise group in Queensland, and the former Movieland group in Western Australia six months later. Also in 1998, the company sold its last two Australian Blockbuster Music stores in Pitt Street, Sydney, and Chapel Street, Melbourne to Brazin Limited, which incorporated them under its Sanity Entertainment brand. Throughout 1999 and 2000, Blockbuster Australia quickly expanded its franchise store network through the conversion of smaller groups and the granting of individual franchises. Before 2005, this was done through the acquisition of the Movies Plus Group and the conversion of some individual Movies 4U and Movieland outlets. [151] [152] [153]

In February 2007, Blockbuster sold its entire Australian store network to Video Ezy. At the time, Blockbuster Australia comprised 370 outlets nationwide—29 owned by the company and 341 owned by franchisees. Video Ezy had 518 Australian outlets, all of them being owned by franchisees, pushing the combined group's market share to 40% of the country's video rental sector. Video Ezy committed to the master franchise agreement with Blockbuster for 10 years operating the brand with the possibility of renewal for a further 10 years after that. As a consequence of the deal, the company changed its name from Video Ezy to Franchise Entertainment Group (FEG). [154] [155] [156] [157]

In October 2010, FEG transferred control of the Video Ezy Australia and Blockbuster Australia online businesses to its newly acquired and reorganized company, Elan Media Partners, leaving FEG to manage the franchise relationships with individual Video Ezy and Blockbuster outlets. [158] [159] However, since the two brands came together, the network has shrunk, reflected in Video Ezy and Blockbuster franchises closing 270 stores across Australia in the four years to August 2011.

Additional store closings would go on for several years, [160] [161] [162] [163] until all the stores in Australia had closed, although vending kiosks with the Blockbuster logo were still in operation until early 2021. [164] [165] [166] Australia's last Blockbuster store, in Morley, Western Australia, was closed at the end of March 2019. [17] [167]

Brazil Edit

Blockbuster was the largest video rental chain in the country, but finances were not good enough due to high rental prices. Lojas Americanas, the largest Brazilian department store, acquired half of the shares and now it is named under "Americanas Express Blockbuster". The store layout was similar to a regular American store with a Game Rush, but instead of games it offers electronics goods like computers and DVD players, groceries like candies and microwave popcorn, and even toys from Mattel and Hasbro's board games. In January 2007, when Blockbuster had 127 stores across Brazil, it sold its Brazilian stake for $87.4 million and gave Lojas Americanas exclusive rights to the Blockbuster brand in the country for 20 years. The average store has an interior on about 400 m2, where 80-100 m2 is dedicated to movies. [168] [169]

Canada Edit

In Canada, Blockbuster Canada (established in 1990) had operated independently, and it initially remained financially stable. [170] It began a partnership with Wind Mobile in December 2009, selling mobile phones at all stores in cities where Wind's service was available. Phone sales began in Toronto and Calgary, later expanding to other cities with Wind coverage. Some stores even featured a full Wind "store-in-a-store" for postpaid activations and a larger selection of devices. [171] However, on May 3, 2011, it was announced that the company had gone into receivership. [172] On May 25, 2011, it was announced that 146 stores, accounting for approximately 35% of the company's stores in Canada, would be shut down effective June 18, 2011. On August 31, 2011, Blockbuster Canada announced that no buyer could be found for its remaining stores that were acceptable to the court-appointed bankruptcy receiver, and that it would wind down operations and close all stores by December 31, 2011. The company had acted as a guarantor towards Blockbuster's remaining debt. [173] A small chain called Megahit Video began in Canada in 1986. It appropriated a similar colour scheme to Blockbuster and grew to a chain of 50 stores in smaller towns not serviced by a Blockbuster. The chain was financially stable with 49 corporately owned stores and one franchise until a lawsuit filed by Blockbuster LLC in 1994 forced the closure of all of the Megahit stores. One Megahit Video, the sole franchise, survived and is still in operation in Newfoundland as a video store and collectible shop.

Denmark Edit

Blockbuster came to Denmark in 1996 with the acquisition of the 29 Christianshavn video stores. [174] In 2009 they were on its peak with 72 stores across the country. [175] Blockbuster Video Denmark sold the rights for the Blockbuster brand to the Danish telecommunications corporation TDC in 2013, excluding the 46 remaining brick and mortar stores which continued as RecycleIT A/S, diversifying in refurbishing and reselling consumer electronics in addition sale and rental of games and movies. [78] [176] The original goal was to rename all the stores before July 1, 2014, when TDC would get the exclusive rights to the brand name in Denmark, but only 12 of them had been renamed at the end of June and RecycleIT A/S filed for bankruptcy the same year. [177] [178] The 12 RecycleIT stores were bought by the company Blue City. [179] The new owners planned to gradually phase out game and movie sales and rental within 2016, but due to the fast changes in the market it happened almost immediately after the takeover, and seven of the stores, therefore, closed in 2015. In 2017, the five remaining ones had started to make some profit, and focus exclusively on second-hand consumer electronics [180]

However, the Blockbuster On Demand service is still active in Nordic Countries, offering both unlimited streaming and 48-hour rental of films online. Several Smart TVs have the Blockbuster app pre-installed out-of-the-box, and it is available on a variety of streaming devices such as Google's Chromecast. [181] The rights to the Blockbuster brand are now in hands of Nuuday. [182]

Germany Edit

Blockbuster opened 20 stores in Berlin and Munich and announced plans to open 250 more. [ when? ] The chain presented itself as family-friendly by not renting pornographic films. However, that decision adversely affected the profitability of the stores. Blockbuster left the German market in 1997. [183]

Hong Kong Edit

In 1998, after the closure of KPS Video Express, Blockbuster saw an opportunity to enter into the Hong Kong market, and entered into negotiations with KPS's receivers Ernst & Young to buy the KPS operations. Blockbuster re-opened 15 of 38 former KPS stores by February 16, 1998, [184] and re-employed 145 former KPS staff. [185] KPS members were given special offers to join Blockbuster, but the video pre-paid coupon system was not retained.

Blockbuster pulled out of the market in 2004 after high operating costs and losses to copyright infringement. [186]

Ireland Edit

In March 2010, Blockbuster announced that it intended to sell all operations in Europe. The company once had an Irish subsidiary, Xtravision, which did not operate under the Blockbuster brand name. Blockbuster sold Xtravision at a loss in August 2009 to Birchhall Investments Limited. All remaining stores were closed in 2016, leaving only its online business and vending machines. [187] [188]

Israel Edit

In the late 2000s at its peak, Blockbuster Israel had 40 branches and more than 260 automated video rentals. [189] [190] In December 2011, Blockbuster closed off its last branch store, and had only 80 automated video rentals left. [190]

Japan Edit

In March 1991, Fujita Den Trading (which was the master franchise owner of McDonald's in Japan) and Blockbuster Inc entered into a joint venture to established Japan's first Blockbuster Video stores. By October 1992, Fujita and Blockbuster opened 15 stores in the country – four of them next to McDonald's outlets and most being located in the greater Tokyo area. Unlike Blockbuster's U.S. stores, each Japanese outlet only occupied about half the floor space at 5,000 square feet due to the country's more limited available real estate. [191] [192] By June 1996, 32 stores were in operation with a public aim for 150 by 1998. Blockbuster Japan faced heavy competition from Osaka-based video rental chain, Tsutaya, with its 817 outlets, but the company saw opportunity in the population having high VCR ownership levels (at around 75%), low satellite TV penetration (at around 27%), and well-ordered store layouts (unique for most local video stores). [193] However, Blockbuster's business strategy of "wholesome home entertainment" saw it not stock adult entertainment or extreme horror films which account for 35% of the Japanese video market. That meant Blockbuster was unable to fit into the Japanese market adequately, and was put at a disadvantage to other businesses selling and renting these movies. Blockbuster handed its remaining shares over to Fujita Den Trading in 1999, and exited the Japanese market. [194]

Mexico Edit

In September 2015, all remaining Blockbuster retail stores (263 in total) in Mexico had been converted to "The B Store", and the floor space dedicated to video rentals reduced from 70% to 20%, the remaining space being used for general technology and electronics sales. The re-branding occurred with the owners not renewing their license with Blockbuster and the imminent expiry of the existing license. [195] [196] All remaining B-stores closed by July 2016. [197]

New Zealand Edit

The chain also operated for many years in New Zealand, [198] but over the years lost customers to other retailers like United Video and Video Ezy, as well as the rise of streaming services. While the store in Bend, Oregon was generally regarded as the last Blockbuster store, there was one in Dargaville, north of Auckland, that managed to stay open until finally closing at the end of January 2020. [199]

Norway Edit

In December 2002 the first Blockbuster store opened in Norway, and was followed by another store some months later in 2003, both located in Oslo. The hope was to acquire an already existing video chain. When that failed, it was made an attempt to build a Norwegian blockbuster chain from scratch. But both stores closed in the spring of 2004. [200]

Peru Edit

In 2007, Blockbuster announced that it plans to shut down its stores in Peru due to poor revenues, which it blamed on the effect of movie piracy. [201] The company had already closed down its stores in Ecuador, Portugal and Costa Rica. El Salvador followed in 2010, and Argentina in 2011. [202]

United Kingdom Edit

In 1989, the company entered the United Kingdom via its purchase of the 875-store Ritz Video chain for $135 million, from parent company Citivision. Ritz Video was Europe's largest rental chain, with a 20% share of the United Kingdom video market, and annual sales of about $150 million. The first re-branded Blockbuster outlet opened on Walworth Road, South London, the same year. [203] [204] By November 1991, Blockbuster UK converted 30 stores to its brand.

Blockbuster UK operated trade functions in all their stores, buying and selling pre-owned DVDs, console games, and gaming accessories. Stores offered either store credit or cash for trade-ins, and would price-match with competitors. At its height in 2002, Blockbuster UK operated out of over 800 stores.

In early 2013, the company had 528 locations in the United Kingdom. On January 16, 2013, Blockbuster placed its United Kingdom subsidiaries in administration, putting over 4,000 jobs at risk. Non-UK stores were unaffected by the administration, and continued to trade as normal. On February 1, 2013, a large number of Blockbuster stores in the UK were closed, and the UK business was purchased out of administration by restructuring firm Gordon Brothers Europe on March 23, 2013. [205]

Blockbuster UK then traded as TS Operations, with only 264 branches retained. On October 29, 2013, Blockbuster UK announced it was to go into administration for a second time. [206] On November 14, 2013, 72 store closures were announced, [207] with another 62 made on December 5. [208] A week later, with no success in finding a buyer, it was announced by Moorfields Corporate Recovery that all remaining stores in the country would cease operation on December 16, 2013, with stock to be cleared the day before this. [209]

In September 2018, to coincide with the digital release of Deadpool 2, a pop-up retail store in the style of an original 1989 Blockbuster outlet was opened for two days in Shoreditch in East London. The store gave away 1,989 copies of the film in reference to Blockbuster's entry year into the UK market. [210]

Brazil Edit

In January 2006, Blockbuster Brazil also introduced an online rental service now featuring both DVD and Blu-ray plans. There were four Block plans available with prices ranging from R$34.90 to R$79.90. The 3-disc plan with unlimited exchanges was R$49.90/month. Unlike the U.S. service, there was no in-store disk exchange. [211] [ failed verification ]

Movielink acquisition Edit

On August 8, 2007, Blockbuster announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase Movielink. According to the 8-K filing by Blockbuster, the total purchase price was $6.6 million.

United Kingdom Edit

Rentals cost £3.50 to £4.50 and lasted for five nights, usually from Monday to Friday due to the postal service. Late fees of £0.70 to £0.90 per disc applied if a disc was not returned on time. [212]

In May 2004, Blockbuster also introduced an online subscription service. The unlimited three-disc plan cost £14.99/month but did not allow in-store exchange, contrary to the U.S. service. Partial support for in-store exchange was added in April 2005 with the launch of an "OnlineXtra" service. This service cost £2 per month, required an online subscription to a disc plan, and added two extra discs sent by mail. The OnlineXtra discs could be exchanged in store, but the non-OnlineXtra discs could not. The program was discontinued in 2006 with no grandfathering, but an in-store-only variant of it resurfaced in early 2008. [213] A "Click & Collect" service launched in September 2010 allowed the reservation of Blockbuster movies in store, but the store's regular rental fees applied until the company added in-store exchanges in May 2012. [214] [215] Support for game reservations was added in November 2011. [216]

In 2008, Blockbuster UK's website underwent an overhaul, with an online store a retail store stock checker improved search functionality and a critically acclaimed layout. [217] In-store pickup and exclusive titled were added in 2009. Some of the titles which had an exclusivity period at Blockbuster include Gran Torino, Changeling, Taken, and Knowing. Additionally, online rental downloads of Universal Pictures in the United Kingdom remains exclusive to Blockbuster. This provides an advantage to the rental company compared to its competitors HMV, Play, and LoveFilm. [217]

In January 2010, Blockbuster UK launched an online blog. [218] Improved search algorithms, product pages, and social network links were added to the site in April 2010. [219] Blockbuster UK aired a monthly BB Insider online video show from May 2010 to January 2011 [220] and launched an iPhone App in September 2010. [221] Throughout the year 2011, Blockbuster UK announced several price cuts along with a new Blockbuster loyalty card program. [222]

These price drops were followed by a price drop of the Blockbuster UK online pay per rent service. [223] Although some Blockbuster UK advertisements claim that the company no longer charges late fees, the fine print and/or voiceover clarifies that rentals will be charged an extra pound for every additional night. [224] A "Top Ticket" feature was added in April 2011, allowing monthly subscription customers to rent an additional movie at no extra charge and to receive it before other movies they request. [225] [226] Support for online sales of used movie and game discs was added in July 2011. [227] The Blockbuster UK website was enhanced in September 2011. [228] During the following month, a new TV section was added to the website. [229]

3D Blu-rays were added to Blockbuster UK in February 2012. [230] In May 2012, Blockbuster UK partnered with IGN to launch a new Blockbuster VIP Gamer loyalty program. [231]

On January 16, 2013, Blockbuster UK entered administration, appointing Deloitte as company administrators, casting doubt over the future of their 528 stores in the country. [232] An announcement was then made by Deloitte that 160 UK stores would close.

On February 13, 2013, Deloitte announced a further 164 store closures, leaving 204 stores trading in the UK. The business was sold to restructuring firm the Gordon Brothers Group on March 23, 2013. [205] On October 29, 2013, Gordon Brothers filed notice of intention to appoint an administrator. On November 28, 2013, Blockbuster UK officially entered administration for the second time, and by December 2013, all stores were closed, as no buyer for the chain was found.

United States Edit

In 1997, Enron Corporation had entered the broadband market, constructing and purchasing thousands of miles of fiber optic cables throughout the United States. [233] [234] In 2001, Enron and Blockbuster Inc. attempted to create a 20-year deal to stream movies on demand over Enron's fiber optic network. [235] However, the "heavily promoted" deal fell through, with Enron's shares dropping following the announcement. [235]

On August 11, 2004, Blockbuster introduced a DVD-by-mail service in the US to compete with the established market leader, Netflix. [236]

Blockbuster's US online operation started with around 10 warehouses further expansions every year brought that number to 41, plus more than 1400 stores in the Blockbuster Online network. Most Blockbuster independent franchises did not honor the Total Access program. The company had 1.5 million subscribers at the end of the third quarter of 2006. [237] Blockbuster's move to follow the business pattern with its online rentals as was established by Netflix prompted Netflix to sue Blockbuster for patent infringement. Blockbuster counter sued with a counterclaim alleging deceptive practices with its patent which it alleged was designed to maintain an illegal monopoly. The suits were eventually settled, and while the terms were not disclosed it was later reported that Netflix recorded a settlement payment from Blockbuster of $4.1 million in the second quarter of 2007. [238]

Blockbuster offered several online movie rental plans. In some cities customers could add games to their movie rental queue as if they were included in their plan, but game rentals resulted in a separate additional fee which was not displayed or charged until the end of the billing cycle. [239] Until July 26, 2007, Blockbuster offered and advertised unlimited free in-store exchanges of online rentals with all plans. Since then there were several changes back and forth with regard to this policy in March 2010 customers were allowed a limited number of in-store exchanges.

At the end of 2006, Blockbuster Total Access had 2.2 million customers, exceeding their original goal of 2 million, according to its website. [240] After an aggressive media campaign that accounted for much of Blockbuster's $46.4 million net loss in the first quarter of 2007, the Total Access subscriber base surpassed 3 million customers in total, marking the company's highest subscriber growth quarter ever. [241] By 2009, however, the company was declining to provide figures when asked by The Wall Street Journal. [242]

On January 5, 2007, Southern Stores Inc., one of Blockbuster's largest franchise operators in the United States, filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that, by introducing Blockbuster Online and Blockbuster Total Access, the rental chain has undercut the group's franchise agreement. [243]

On August 6, 2010, Blockbuster By Mail subscribers gained access to Blockbuster's library of console games, in addition to movies and television shows.

On March 31, 2012, Blockbuster On Demand removed support from set-top box media players, including Vudu, WDTV, and Roku. Supported devices now only included computers, Blu-ray players, select television sets, and cellular phones. [244]

On February 26, 2013, Roku, Inc. announced that Blockbuster On Demand was being launched on Roku's channel store. Supported devices now included computers, Blu-ray players, select television sets, cellular phones, and the Roku set-top box. [245]

In November 2013, Dish Network said its DVD-by-mail service would shut down by mid-December. [246]

Super Bowl Edit

One of Blockbuster's most well-known advertising campaigns was launched in 2002 during Super Bowl XXXVI. It starred the voices of James Woods and Jim Belushi as Carl and Ray, a rabbit and a guinea pig in a pet shop located across the road from a Blockbuster store. The first campaign ended in 2003. The Carl and Ray campaign started again in 2007 starting with a commercial in the first quarter of Super Bowl XLI. [247]

Misleading advertising Edit

In 2005, Blockbuster launched a marketing campaign describing changes in its late fees policy and offering "No Late Fees" on rentals. The program sparked investigations and charges of misrepresentation in 48 states and the District of Columbia: state attorneys general including Bill Lockyer of California, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Eliot Spitzer of New York argued that customers were being automatically charged the full purchase price of late rentals and a restocking fee for rentals returned after 30 days. In a settlement, Blockbuster agreed to reimburse the states the cost of their investigation, clarify communication to customers on the terms of the program, and offer reimbursement to customers charged fees prior to the clarification. New Jersey filed a separate lawsuit and was not a party to the settlement. [248] [249] [250] [251] [252]

The 2005 controversy came after a related lawsuit settled in 2002 in Texas. That lawsuit, alleging exorbitant late fees, led the company to pay $9.25 million in attorney fees and offer $450 million in late fee refund coupons (which were rent-one get-one-free coupons, and thus required the customer to make an initial expenditure). The company estimated that the coupons would ultimately cost about $45 million depending on the redemption rate an attorney for the plaintiffs estimated the final cost at closer to $100 million at a redemption rate of about 20% (calculated based on a similar case in Michigan). [253] [254]

Such corrections were also sent to international stores such as those in Canada to prevent further lawsuits.

Blockbuster reintroduced late fees in the United States in 2010 under the name of "Additional Daily Rates". With this pricing scheme, rentals were once again limited to a certain number of days and accrued pay-per-day rates after the days allocated are exceeded.


Can ‘Avatar’ Become the First-Ever $3 Billion Movie at the Box Office?

James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, once again, stands alone as the highest-grossing movie in box office history. The movie was recently re-released in China, as theaters in the country have reopened and seen steady business in recent months. It earned just enough to put it in front of Avengers: Endgame, which took the title from Avatar in the summer of 2019. But now, Cameron is back in charge as the unquestioned king of the box office. An important, if seemingly crazy question must now be asked can Avatar become the first movie in history to cross the $3 billion dollar mark?

First, let’s look at where things stand. With the recent grosses added upon its Chinese re-release, as of this writing, Avatar has earned just over $2.81 billion worldwide. That puts it above Avengers: Endgame, which had managed to bring in just shy of $2.8 billion during its record-breaking run in 2019. That means, Avatar would need to add an additional $189 million, give or take a few hundred thousand, to crack the $3 billion mark.

That would put us in truly unprecedented territory. Especially considering that only five movies in history have ever crossed the $2 billion mark. And two of those movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.06 billion) and Avengers: Infinity War ($2.04 billion) are, relatively speaking, just barely in that elite club. The fifth movie being another James Cameron blockbuster in the form of 1997’s Titanic which, over time, has climbed its way to $2.2 billion, good enough for the number three spot. Though that also illustrates the insane rarity, almost bordering on impossible fluke, that is Avatar.

Before diving into how Avatar could, and I stress could get to $3 billion, it is worth looking at how the movie made its money in the first place. Unlike Avengers: Endgame, which had an Earth-shattering $357 million domestic opening weekend, then inched its way to $2.8 billion, Avatar opened, somewhat humbly by comparison, to $77 million domestically in December 2009. But the drop-off was not sharp. It declined less than 2 percent in its second weekend, taking in another $75 million. And it just kept going, and going, with a similar pattern emerging overseas.

Eventually, after months in theaters, it had amassed nearly $2 billion in international grosses to go with around $750 million domestically. Its path to the top was not a typical one for a major blockbuster. It didn’t have one big weekend only to fall off the face of the Earth in a matter of weeks. This was, to use a possibly outdated reference, the Energizer Bunny of blockbusters. It just kept going and going. It is also worth pointing out that premium format theaters, such as 3D and IMAX, which generally carry a higher ticket price, were a huge factor.

But that was 2009. This is now. Much has changed. For one, it remains to be seen just how much of an Avatar fanbase there is out there. Was this purely an of its moment thing? Does it have staying power? Is it timeless, as director James Cameron has suggested? That will be the million-dollar question in the coming months as we speed toward the release of Avatar 2 (as well as Avatar 3, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5). Because it’s the interest in those sequels that could, in turn, provide a huge boost to the original movie that Disney hopes will become a multi-billion dollar, multi-movie franchise.

Because Avatar was released so long ago, Disney will inevitably re-release the movie elsewhere as the box office begins to stabilize around the world. Particularly, we should expect a big, flashy re-release in the months leading up to the release of Avatar 2 in December 2022. If audiences turn up to reacquaint themselves with the world of Pandora en masse in anticipation of the long-awaited sequel, $3 billion could be in reach. Though it is, admittedly, a stretch.

Even in the best of cases, a blockbuster’s re-release in theaters has its limits. Take, for example, the 20th-anniversary re-release of Jurassic Park in 2013. Steven Spielberg’s beloved dino-filled adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name took in $118.1 million during its run. This was, again, aided by 3D tickets at the time. The other example, when looking at the established ceiling for this sort of thing, is 1997’s release of the Star Wars special editions by George Lucas. A New Hope took in a truly impressive $138.2 million during its domestic re-release. The Empire Strikes Back earned $67.5 million while Return of the Jedi notched an additional $45.4 million. And this is Star Wars we’re talking about.

Accounting for inflation, Star Wars: A New Hope‘s re-release would have earned around $300 million in today’s dollars. So the bigger, more specific question is, can Avatar do what Star Wars did in 1997? It unquestionably helps that Avatar will likely be released in various territories around the world. It won’t be relying purely on moviegoers in the U.S. If, and it is perhaps a big if, that interest is there and excitement builds for the sequel, a new box office record, the likes of which may truly never be achieved again, could be in the cards. Avatar 2 is set to hit theaters on December 16, 2022. Avatar 3 will arrive on December 20, 2024, with set to follow on December 18, 2026. And finally, Avatar 5 on December 22, 2028. These numbers were provided by Box Office Mojo.

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10 Genre-Changing Sci-Fi Films

Science Fiction is a genre that often comments on social values and mores by utilizing technology and our interaction with it. First came science fiction books, then movies &ndash this list looks at 10 of the significant sci-fi films which enhanced, improved or changed the way filmmakers produce their work.

The first film to create a realistic CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) character in a major movie. Technological advancements have greatly impacted the cinema experience, and &lsquoTerminator 2: Judgement Day&rsquo foreshadowed the CGI (and other film technology such as animatronic(s)) dinosaurs of Jurassic Park (1993)) and set a precedent for &lsquoThe Matrix&rsquo (1999) and &lsquoAvatar&rsquo (2009) to continue to build on the technological tools for filmmakers to use. &lsquoTerminator 2: Judgement Day&rsquo explored the notion that the future can be rewritten and we can choose and change our destines. Presently, CGI is the main visual effect technology used in the majority of science fiction films.

James Whales&rsquo &lsquoFrankenstein,&rsquo based on Mary Shelley&rsquos 1818 novel &lsquoFrankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus&rsquo was a precursor for every science fiction film to date. It provides filmmakers with a universe of extraordinary creativity to prophesy (often with terrifying accuracy) and reflect on the present. The mad scientist/evil professor as the archetypal character who creates life (principally by electricity) from dead body parts, who then turns on Dr. Victor Frankenstein. This was the first incarnation of technology turning on man technology progressing too far beyond our control and man warned not to &lsquoplay God.&rsquo With every development in technology, we see robots taking over genetic engineering, a crippling class system developed. &lsquoThe Day the Earth Stood Still&rsquo (1951), &lsquoWar of the Worlds&rsquo (1953), &lsquoInvaders from Mars&rsquo (1953), &lsquoInvasion of the Body Snatchers&rsquo (1956) represent nuclear weapon/Cold War fears while &lsquoJurassic Park&rsquo (1993), &lsquoGattaca&rsquo (1997), &lsquoThe Fifth Element&rsquo (1997) and more recently &lsquoThe Island (2005) and &lsquoRepo Man&rsquo (2010) use genetic engineering and cloning to deal with the concept of technology overreaching/destroying our society.

&ldquoA story should have a beginning, a middle and an end&hellip but not necessarily in that order.&rdquo &ndash Jean-Luc Godard. This quote resonates with anyone we has seen &lsquoMomento&rsquo (2005) and &lsquoInception&rsquo (2010), the non-linear structure, mainly time travel and flashback as the vehicle of &lsquoTwelve Monkeys&rsquo is a shy away from Todorov&rsquos Theory of Narrative. &lsquoTwelve Monkeys,&rsquo like all science fiction, is communicating with societal beliefs. AIDs, the Ebola virus and Mad Cow disease dominated the medical field in the 1990s. &lsquoTwelve Monkeys&rsquo like the movie &lsquoOutbreak&rsquo (1997) examines these issues but with more flair and sophistication. It has one of the most mind-blowing plot twists and keeps you guessing even after the film has finished. But why has it changed the science fiction genre? Many people do not give enough credit to Terry Gilliam Gilliam introduced us to the true horrors of knowledge. While James Cole wants to reject knowledge to embrace safety in ignorance, a contrast to the audience, we discover that society is also confused and misinformed about wars, global issues and everyday life. &lsquoTwelve Monkeys&rsquo warns of the impeding doom that knowing too much (and too little) can create. It is the movies that followed this trend which have allowed &lsquoTwelve Monkeys&rsquo to hop onto this list. &lsquoThe Matrix&rsquo (1999), &lsquoMinority Report&rsquo (2002), &lsquoI, Robot&rsquo (2004) and &lsquoSurrogates&rsquo (2009) all deal with knowledge as our destruction, rather than our saviour. At the end of the movie we are left with an ambiguous ending, something many directors now use, &lsquoInception&rsquo (2010) is a notable example.

Arguably, several people consider the &lsquoEmpire Strikes Back&rsquo superior to &lsquoA New Hope.&rsquo However, since &lsquoA New Hope&rsquo virtually creates an entire universe, basically started the &lsquoblockbuster&rsquo film and began the saga, it is only right it deserves the spot instead of the &lsquoEmpire Strikes Back.&rsquo &lsquoStar Wars&rsquo is the definition of an epic space opera and the height of escapism &ndash a dream-like, alternative world for every science fiction viewer. The technical brilliance, which now may seem aged, made the specials effects, set designs and aesthetics in &lsquoStar Wars&rsquo a masterpiece in its heyday. (It&rsquos a shame, and to some sacrilege, it has been digitally remastered and changed as another example &lsquoE.T.&rsquo has omitted the word &ldquoterrorist&rdquo and replaced guns with walkie-talkies). &lsquoStar Wars&rsquo had such a profound effect that an entire religion was formed, based on the film and future films in the saga. Film review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, sums up why it has, not only, changed the science fiction genre but film itself: &ldquoGeorge Lucas opened our eyes to the possibilities of blockbuster film-making and things have never been the same.&rdquo

&lsquoAlien&rsquo is considered one of the best science fiction movies, as here we see a turn from the &lsquoStar Wars&rsquo and &lsquoStar Trek&rsquo &ndash to put it blatantly &ndash bland (childish) imagery, to the more scary and real prospects of space. Rather than a &ldquolong time ago&rdquo in a &ldquogalaxy far, far, away&rdquo &lsquoAlien&rsquo probes our galaxy and returns to the &lsquoscience&rsquo in science fiction. Rod Serling used to say that &ldquofantasy is the impossible made probable, science fiction is the probable made possible.&rdquo Thus, science fiction was moving away from the element of plausibility in science. &lsquoAlien&rsquo depicts a more realistic space ship than the Enterprise, examines aliens in a time when UFO sightings dramatically increased, and opened the door to the financial success of the science fiction-horror sub genre.

Dir: Steven Spielberg, 1982

Who could forget one of the most iconic and gut-wrenching lines in cinematic history: &ldquoE.T. phone home.&rdquo The line was ranked 15th on &lsquoAFI&rsquos 100 Years&hellip 100 movie quotes&rsquo in 2005. &lsquoE.T.,&rsquo unlike every other science fiction movie before, depicted aliens as benevolent, and humans as the &lsquobaddy.&rsquo But who could blame the filmmakers? After the Iraq War in 1990, for example, American society&rsquos morale was lower than ever. Science fiction helped place us on top in films such as &lsquoIndependence Day&rsquo (1997) and &lsquoArmageddon&rsquo (1998). Our humanity is our secret weapon as we learn to work collectively to kill the &lsquobaddy&rsquo or &lsquoother&rsquo and make us feel positive for the future. &lsquoE.T.&rsquo on the other hand, depicted a benign and loving alien, who becomes homesick. &lsquoE.T.&rsquo also served as social commentary on how media and film have shaped our views. Mary and Elliot, the children, treat E.T. with respect and kindness, in stark contrast to the adults reaction. While the trend to depict aliens as the &lsquobaddy&rsquo continues, films such as &lsquoDistrict 9&rsquo (2010) are rare theatrical exceptions.

Dir: Christopher Nolan, 2010

This may be the most controversial addition to the list, especially because it is so high up the order. Earlier, I examined &lsquoTwelve Monkeys&rsquo non-linear narrative, but &lsquoInception&rsquo takes the viewer even further, blending the time-line more than twice, using a dream within a dream within a dream. What &lsquoThe Matrix&rsquo did for science fiction in the 1990s, &lsquoInception&rsquo will do for the 2010s. We may not see the ramifications yet, but &lsquoInception&rsquo had a profound effect in 2010. It mystified and annoyed some, and challenged others to go beyond the superficial aspects of action in film. &lsquoInception&rsquo does not insult your intelligence, it assumes you&rsquore smart. Modern movies like to spell out every detail because it believes the audience do not want to work out anything dense. Like &lsquoThe Matrix,&rsquo the blur between reality and dream is inverted, and we are thrust into a world of possibilities. We all have our take on the way to &lsquoread&rsquo the movie and that is its brilliance. The possibility of a minute aspect, a top spinning for ever or falling, defines the plot. &lsquoInception&rsquo dares to be original. It is not derivative and excites us for the potential for iron-laced plots in the future. Technology does not hold the film together, &lsquoInception&rsquos&rsquo subtle special effects are the result of pure realism. The jargon and futuristic science (which is why we love science fiction) is a thin veneer underneath greater story telling. The idea takes center-stage, not mindless action or CG effects. &lsquo Inception&rsquo is a movie that has become part of our collective subconscious. It has changed the way we think about our lives and who we are.

Dir: Andy Wachowski, and Lana (Larry) Wachowski, 1999

&lsquoThe Matrix&rsquo was a 1999 landmark film for science fiction, in which the makers utilize novel camera techniques known as &lsquoflo-mo&rsquo and &lsquobullet time&rsquo in order to create an entire visual lexicon, as well as raise expectations for realism in action scenes, whilst also allowing the resurgence of loud CGI-ridden blockbusters. A legion of imitators still try to recreate the spectacle of slow-motion bullet time to not much avail, &lsquoWanted&rsquo (2008) for example.

&lsquoThe Matrix&rsquo asked the simple question &lsquowhat is reality?&rsquo Is the world around us real or an illusion? Or more suitably, what is the &lsquomeaning&rsquo of reality? This one philosophical question still puzzles us today, and is the reason why it deserves a number 3 spot. &lsquoThe Matrix&rsquo presents us with the choice between blissful ignorance, the &lsquoblue pill&rsquo and painful truth, the &lsquored pill.&rsquo We are yanked from the comfort of our seats to a dystopian, derelict wasteland. The audiences&rsquo perception of reality was even tested when we took our first steps out of the theatre and pondered for a second &lsquois the world real or just an illusion?&rsquo

&lsquoThe Matrix,&rsquo reinvigorated the genre, delivered 5 star quality, maintained science fiction lovers and gained legions of new fans.

&lsquoBlade Runner&rsquo always comes up on every top 10 science fiction list. Because of this there is no doubt &lsquoBlade Runner&rsquo has influenced the genre and directors.

Unlike many science fiction films, &lsquoBlade Runner&rsquo does not try to make a viewing experience pleasant. The film is slow and visually unattractive. But the sheer intellect and realism of the film is more than enough for any science fiction fan. During its time, &lsquoBlade Runner&rsquo was not one of the most realistic films, and even now it is not. But a few years ago, the hyper-oriental and skyscraper dominated landscape of dystopian 2019 Los Angeles was a real prospect. Ridley Scott&rsquos attention to detail is truly magnificent. Each viewing experience is never the same, you&rsquoll notice a few details here, or catch a new aspect or theme that was right in front of your eyes. The movie is &lsquolayered&rsquo with what is the meaning of humanity. What keeps us different from the replicants, clones or robots. A multinational Company, Tyrell, whose motto is &ldquomore human than human&rdquo allows men to play God. Again, the film is based on the typical science fiction themes that challenge our ethics and humanity, but to a greater extent. When cloning develops, films like &lsquoGattaca&rsquo (1995), where there is &ldquono gene for the human spirit&rdquo keep technology in check. &lsquoBlade Runner&rsquo is the type of film they build 5-disc special editions around and release 4 different versions.

While many &lsquobest science fiction films&rsquo lists place &lsquo2001&rsquo second to &lsquoBlade Runner,&rsquo &lsquo2001&rsquo completely redefined the science fiction genre, particularly during a time when the genre was almost debunk. The 1960s experienced an ebbing tide of tacky, low-budget films that were rampant in the 1950s. &lsquoKing Kong vs. Godzilla&rsquo and &lsquoGhidrah: The Three-headed Monster&rsquo to name but a few. Many people at this time viewed science fiction as mindless, far-fetched entertainment. &lsquo2001&rsquo removed this misconception, but was not truly recognized until a few years later, due to its &lsquoelusive&rsquo and challenging storyline. Like many science fiction films before, &lsquo2001&rsquo did not dabble in new themes technology taking over, yes, progress beyond our comprehension, yes, but what it did add was a sense of realistic, thought provoking and serious subject matter. Radical evolution of technology and the space race between the US and USSR began to intensify. There was much room to imagine the future of space exploration. &lsquo2001&rsquo offered a glimpse of what technology the space program might offer, such as induced hibernation, liquified meals and long distance video calls from space. However, there was widespread fear of what technology could become, seen in HAL 9000&rsquos malfunction and mutiny. The impressive, realistic, and indeed, groundbreaking nature, of the opening sequence, back-drops and clever use of soundtrack and sound (remember there is no sound in space) served to bestow much prestige in a flunking genre. &lsquo2001&rsquo is filmmaking at its finest &ndash technically masterful (the &lsquomatch cut&rsquo), innovative, original, enthralling, aurally exquisite and unforgettable&hellip this all places &lsquo2001&rsquo at number one!

In 2008, there were only 8 films released in 3D, but in 2009 there were 20! 3D has enhanced the viewing experience, created headaches for some and polarized filmmakers and critics alike. 3D has also boosted box office receipts in the midst of ever increasing illegal file-sharing, there are 100 million users of &lsquoBitTorrent&rsquo as of February 2010. Tickets sales have fallen in the U.S while box office receipts have increased. 3D, in 2009, racked up 11% of the total box office receipts, but accounted for only 4% of all films released. If &lsquoAvatar&rsquo had not been successful or the highest-grossing film off all time, audiences might not be subjected to a barrage of 3D movies like the flops before it. However, what makes &lsquoAvatar&rsquo so special? A derivative storyline, extensive use of motion capture and photo-realistic CGI or its blatant conformity to mainstream Hollywood film? &lsquoAvatar&rsquo exemplifies how technological advancements can enhance the cinematic experience by using 3D to showcase the storytelling instead of a substitute but fail to veritably or genuinely change the genre itself. There is no doubt that &lsquoAvatar&rsquo is a visual treat for audiences, but I cannot include it on the list just for this reason alone. While the future of 3D looks strong, James Cameron&rsquos &lsquoAvatar&rsquo has changed the way science fiction is filmed. It has changed the style of science fiction films, as directors&rsquo camera shots adhere to the guidelines set by 3D, to really make films worthwhile to watch in three dimensions. American film critic Roger Ebert&rsquos cover story in Newsweek (May, 2010) attacks 3D, &lsquoWhy Avatar is bad for the movies,&rsquo where he opines: &ldquo[3D] adds nothing essential to the movie-going experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction.&rdquo He also says: &ldquoIt limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose&rdquo because studios push for audience demand and, hence, profit rather than creativity.


Can Avatar Become the First-Ever $3 Billion Movie at the Box Office?

James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, once again, stands alone as the highest-grossing movie in box office history. The movie was recently re-released in China, as theaters in the country have reopened and seen steady business in recent months. It earned just enough to put it in front of Avengers: Endgame, which took the title from Avatar in the summer of 2019. But now, Cameron is back in charge as the unquestioned king of the box office. An important, if seemingly crazy question must now be asked can Avatar become the first movie in history to cross the $3 billion dollar mark?

First, let’s look at where things stand. With the recent grosses added upon its Chinese re-release, as of this writing, Avatar has earned just over $2.81 billion worldwide. That puts it above Avengers: Endgame, which had managed to bring in just shy of $2.8 billion during its record-breaking run in 2019. That means, Avatar would need to add an additional $189 million, give or take a few hundred thousand, to crack the $3 billion mark.

RELATED: Avatar 2 First Look at Michelle Yeoh & Giovanni Ribisi On Set

That would put us in truly unprecedented territory. Especially considering that only five movies in history have ever crossed the $2 billion mark. And two of those movies, Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.06 billion) and Avengers: Infinity War ($2.04 billion) are, relatively speaking, just barely in that elite club. The fifth movie being another James Cameron blockbuster in the form of 1997’s Titanic which, over time, has climbed its way to $2.2 billion, good enough for the number three spot. Though that also illustrates the insane rarity, almost bordering on impossible fluke, that is Avatar.

Before diving into how Avatar could, and I stress could get to $3 billion, it is worth looking at how the movie made its money in the first place. Unlike Avengers: Endgame, which had an Earth-shattering $357 million domestic opening weekend, then inched its way to $2.8 billion, Avatar opened, somewhat humbly by comparison, to $77 million domestically in December 2009. But the drop-off was not sharp. It declined less than 2 percent in its second weekend, taking in another $75 million. And it just kept going, and going, with a similar pattern emerging overseas.

Eventually, after months in theaters, it had amassed nearly $2 billion in international grosses to go with around $750 million domestically. Its path to the top was not a typical one for a major blockbuster. It didn’t have one big weekend only to fall off the face of the Earth in a matter of weeks. This was, to use a possibly outdated reference, the Energizer Bunny of blockbusters. It just kept going and going. It is also worth pointing out that premium format theaters, such as 3D and IMAX, which generally carry a higher ticket price, were a huge factor.

But that was 2009. This is now. Much has changed. For one, it remains to be seen just how much of an Avatar fanbase there is out there. Was this purely an of its moment thing? Does it have staying power? Is it timeless, as director James Cameron has suggested? That will be the million-dollar question in the coming months as we speed toward the release of Avatar 2 (as well as Avatar 3, Avatar 4 and Avatar 5). Because it’s the interest in those sequels that could, in turn, provide a huge boost to the original movie that Disney hopes will become a multi-billion dollar, multi-movie franchise.

Because Avatar was released so long ago, Disney will inevitably re-release the movie elsewhere as the box office begins to stabilize around the world. Particularly, we should expect a big, flashy re-release in the months leading up to the release of Avatar 2 in December 2022. If audiences turn up to reacquaint themselves with the world of Pandora en masse in anticipation of the long-awaited sequel, $3 billion could be in reach. Though it is, admittedly, a stretch.

Even in the best of cases, a blockbuster’s re-release in theaters has its limits. Take, for example, the 20th-anniversary re-release of Jurassic Park in 2013. Steven Spielberg’s beloved dino-filled adaptation of Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name took in $118.1 million during its run. This was, again, aided by 3D tickets at the time. The other example, when looking at the established ceiling for this sort of thing, is 1997’s release of the Star Wars special editions by George Lucas. A New Hope took in a truly impressive $138.2 million during its domestic re-release. The Empire Strikes Back earned $67.5 million while Return of the Jedi notched an additional $45.4 million. And this is Star Wars we’re talking about.


Box Office: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Opens to Record-Smashing $356M in U.S., $1.2B Globally

To say 'Avengers: Endgame' made history in its box office debut is an understatement.

Pamela McClintock

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To say Avengers: Endgame made history in its box office bow is an understatement.

The superhero tentpole opened to $356 million in North America and $866 million overseas for a stunning global launch of $1.2 billion, including $330.5 million in China and $56 million in the U.K. All are records &mdash and then some &mdash in yet another victory for Disney and Marvel Studios.

Furthermore, weekend revenue for all films domestically clocked in at more than $397 million, an unprecedented sum. Until now, the most ever collected in one weekend was $314 million. Endgame set a new threshold for just how much the market can expand, as well as kicking off the summer season in high style following a tough winter and early spring.

The Russo brothers shot Endgame back-to-back with last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, the previous record-holder for biggest global opening ($640.5 million) and top domestic debut ($257.6 million), not adjusted for inflation. Endgame had the advantage of opening day-and-date in China, unlike Infinity War.

Infinity War, which took 11 days to hit $1 billion, versus five for Endgame, topped out at $2.04 billion globally. The guessing game has already begun as to whether Endgame can climb north of $2.5 billion and match or topple Avatar, the top-grossing film of all time with $2.78 billion, not adjusted for inflation.

Endgame grossed $156.7 million on Friday in North America, another stat for the history books. That crown for biggest single/opening day had belonged to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which took in $119 million on its first Friday. Endgame grossed another $109 million on Saturday, obliterating Infinity War‘s Saturday gross of $82.1 million.

Related Stories

'Avengers: Endgame' Box Office: All the Records Broken in $1.2B Global Bow

The tentpole sports an impressive 96 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, the second best of any MCU title behind Black Panther (97 percent). And like Black Panther, Endgame was awarded a coveted A+ CinemaScore. It also posted stellar exit scores, per Comscore.

Disney’s distribution team made up for Endgame‘s lengthy three-hour running time by unfurling the tentpole in 4,662 theaters in North America, the widest release ever. Some cinemas stayed open around the clock to meet demand, including 19 AMC locations. AMC offered more than 60,000 screenings, an all-time high that topped that of Black Panther. The mega circuit is also reporting record Friday and Saturday attendance, as well as record concession sales of $28 million on those two days. And Imax theaters around the world turned in a record $91.5 million (the Russo brothers used Imax cameras).

The nostalgia factor, a highlight of Disney’s marketing campaign, is running hot. Not only is Endgame a direct sequel to Infinity War, it’s the culmination of the previous 21 titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a blockbuster series of films that commenced with Iron Man in 2008 and established Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios as best in show.

“Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team have continued to challenge notions of what is possible at the movie theater both in terms of storytelling and at the box office,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said Sunday in a statement. “Though Endgame is far from an end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these first 22 films constitute a sprawling achievement, and this weekend’s monumental success is a testament to the world they’ve envisioned, the talent involved, and their collective passion, matched by the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans around the world.”

Added Feige, “That we’ve had so many other successes in this journey leading to this unbelievable result with Avengers: Endgame has been almost entirely due to the fans around the world who have supported us through it all.”

Endgame‘s opening performance overseas was no less astonishing. In addition to China &mdash where it is already the No. 4 title of all time &mdash it scored the highest opening weekend in 43 markets, including the U.K./Ireland, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and France.

The pic, which began rolling out Wednesday, finished Friday with a three-day foreign tally of $487 million. That was already the biggest international bow of all time, eclipsing The Fate of the Furious ($443 million). Globally, Endgame‘s early total through Friday stood at $643.7 million, another unheard-of feat in eclipsing Infinity War‘s entire weekend opening before Saturday got underway.

Endgame‘s halo effect even boosted fellow MCU tentpole Captain Marvel, which rocketed back up the domestic chart to No. 2 in its eighth weekend with $8.1 million as moviegoers who haven’t seen the pic caught up before viewing Endgame. Captain Marvel finished Sunday with a domestic total of $413.6 million to surpass Wonder Woman ($412.6 million).


Avatar is First Sci-Fi Movie to Pull in $1B USD Worldwide

With James Cameron’s track record — Aliens, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (which racked up over $500M USD at the box office internationally), and Titanic (which pulled in over $1.8B USD internationally) — his latest effort, a science fiction epic dubbed Avatar seemed destined for success. With an official budget of $237M USD and estimates of the real budget being $280-310M USD to produce and $150M USD to advertise (making it perhaps the most expensive movie in history), pressure was high for Cameron to deliver yet another blockbuster.

And deliver he did. Over its opening weekend (December 10), the movie burned up the box office, bringing it $77,025,481 and rocketing it to the second strongest December launch in history. The movie continued its path of sales destruction, topping the important Christmas weekend sales.

Now it has achieved a landmark figure — it has pulled in $1B USD internationally, becoming only one of five movies in history to do so. The past $1B+ blockbusters include Cameron’s own Titanic, which sits atop the chart, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and The Dark Knight. Arguably Avatar is the first true science fiction movie to reach the mark, though The Dark Knight‘s high-tech gizmos allowed it to border on the genre.

The latest epic is notable not only for pushing the boundaries of story-telling and creativity in the science fiction genre, but also for pushing the limits of 3D animation. The inhabitants of the fictional world of Pandora, including the Na’vi (the iconic blue humanoids) are richly portrayed in stunning rendered detail seamlessly alongside real-life counterparts. Thus the film is notable for the tech field not just thanks to the sci-fi genre’s deep impact on the tech community, but also because successes like this push technology that will eventually trickle down to consumer video games and other forms of media.

The picture is considered a leading candidate for a number of awards, as it drew strong reviews. Notably, it’s considered a front-runner for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards. In the online community it has drawn mostly favorable reviews, despite some perceiving its message as a bit anti-technology (though perhaps favorable to biotech).


Watch the video: Matrix: Επιστροφή στις κινηματογραφικές αίθουσες για την θρυλική ταινία επιστημονικής φαντασίας (June 2022).


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    I am not satisfied with you

  5. Vaiveahtoish

    It's a pity that I can't speak right now - I'm very busy. I will be back - I will definitely express my opinion on this issue.

  6. Keyser

    I agree with you

  7. Keilah

    This message is incomparable,))), I like :)



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