When Avatar destroyed box offices all over the world, James Cameron suddenly found himself the target of many lawsuits claiming that the movie ripped off their own stories. Now there is at least one less.
A U.S. District court tossed out a lawsuit filed by Elijah Schkeiban, who claimed that Avatar ripped off his novel (and a screenplay that never got produced) called Bats And Butterflies. But the judge said that the two were not substantially similar, and even after allowing Schkeiban to amend his complaint several times to provide more facts, but he never did, and now it appears that his suit is effectively dead.
The EMP Museum in Seattle has announced the list of the 2012 inductees into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
Those being honored this year are filmmaker James Cameron; artist Virgil Finlay; author Joe Haldeman; and author James Tiptree, Jr. The new Science Fiction Hall of Fame display will be unveiled at EMP’s Icons of Science Fiction exhibition opening celebration on Friday, June 8, 2012. To purchase tickets, visit empmuseum.org.
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame honors the lives, work, and ongoing legacies of science fiction’s greatest creators. Founded in 1996, the Hall of Fame was relocated from the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas to its permanent home at EMP in 2004. Hall of Fame nominations are submitted by EMP members. The final inductees are chosen by a panel of award-winning science fiction authors, artists, editors, publishers, and film professionals.
2012 SCIENCE FICTION HALL OF FAME BIOS
James Cameron, American filmmaker (1954 – ). Cameron continually redefines the cutting edge of science fiction filmmaking. In particular, The Terminator (1984), which captured the collision of our fears of nuclear terror and computer technology; Aliens (1986), a sequel that magnified and amplified the classic original; The Abyss (1989), which looked downward to the oceans as a realm of the alien; and Avatar (2009) which employed a variety of innovative filmmaking techniques to further enhance the movie-viewing experience.
Virgil Finlay, American artist (1914 – 1971). Finlay produced thousands of illustrations, flourishing in the pulp magazine era from the ’30s through the ’50s. He is especially known for his exacting and detailed scratchboard and pen-and-ink work. The stark and shadowy effects he created were well-suited to the horror and fantasy magazines, where his works frequently appeared. He also contributed more than 800 illustrations to the Sunday newspaper supplement The American Weekly, and created 19 covers for Weird Tales.
Joe Haldeman, American author (1943 – ). Haldeman burst onto the science fiction scene in 1974 with The Forever War, a novel that blended imaginative hard science fiction with a heartfelt examination of the impact of war and homecoming on the combatants. The novel won the Hugo and Nebula Awards. In the following four decades, he has built a library of quality work, notably the Worlds series, The Hemingway Hoax (1990), and Forever Peace (1997). He teaches writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2010 he received the Grand Master award from the Science Fiction Writers of America.
James Tiptree, Jr., American author (1915 – 1987). Tiptree was the pen name of Alice Sheldon, who kept her identity a secret for the majority of her career. She is best known for stories that explore sex, gender identity, male/female relations, and death. “The Last Flight of Doctor Ain” and “The Women Men Don’t See” are two notable works among many. In 1991 the James Tiptree, Jr. Award for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender was created in her honor.
If you remember, Disney made a big announcement in September that it was going to build an Avatar-themed land at the Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World in Florida. But since then there has been little said, and no visible work has been done.
If you follow Disney fan boards, there has been a large uptick in speculation that Disney put the plan on hold or even outright canceled it, and given how long it might be before we see the next movie, the costs, etc. it seemed that could have been the case.
Well, at today’s shareholder meeting for the corporation, Disney President/CEO Bob Iger and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs talked about some upcoming things, and Avatar was specifically mentioned. They are still working on the plans, and the “land” themed for Pandora will likely not open until 2015, which could put it around the time of the sequels.
During a Q&A period, Iger was asked about how John Carter would affect the financials of the corporation, but Iger said it was too early to tell.
Make a lot of money on a movie, and everyone claims they came up with it. Make a bomb, and it’s all yours.
James Cameron is getting sued again over the profits from Avatar, and the most recent claimant according to TMZ is Bryant Moore, a science fiction writer, who alleges that Cameron stole ideas from two of his unproduced scripts, “Aquatica” and “Descendants: The Pollination”. According to TMZ, some of the similarities between his scripts and Avatar are “bioluminescent flora/plant life, unbreathable atmospheres, matriarch support of hero vs. heroine, spiritual connections to environment and reincarnation, appearance of mist in scene, sunlight to moonlight, crackling from gargantuan foliage, blue skin/green skin and battle scene on limbs/branches.”
Umm…wow. Mist in a scene? Really? Green skin was his idea? Hide the Orion slave girls…
Disney just announced plans to construct a new land as part of it’s existing Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World themed to James Cameron’s Avatar franchise. Cameron, producing partner Jon Landau and Lightstorm Entertainment will work closely with Walt Disney Imagineering to develop the plans, and expect construction to start in 2013.
Disneyphiles familiar with the creation of Animal Kingdom park are aware that when it was built, a planned section of the park was never built due to budget cuts, called “Beastly Kingdomme”, an area to be filled with creatures both magical and mystical. In fact, the Dueling Dragons rollercoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure park (now called Dragon Challenge as part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter) was originally designed for Beastly Kingdomme but scrapped with the area. By the sounds of it, this new Avatar land would likely take the still-undeveloped location, and perhaps even incorporate some of the area’s original designs, with new theming.
I’ll definitely provide updates as they come in over the next couple years.
The first sequel to Avatar is scheduled to hit screens on Christmas 2014.
Back in April I did a “live review” of Avatar on Blu-ray when the original version came out. Now there is an all new Blu-raw version, the Extended Collector’s Edition (also on DVD, which not only includes the original theatrical release, but two more – the Special Edition re-release that includes 8 additional minutes, but a new extended cut with 16 additional minutes. And that’s just the first disc. There are two more discs chock full of extras that bring you into the creation of Pandora and the Na’vi.
“I told our team — let’s do the ultimate box set of Avatar, with everything in it the fans could possibly want. There’s an extended length cut that’s sixteen minutes longer, plus documentaries, behind the scenes featurettes, artwork and over 45 minutes of deleted scenes. Everything worth putting into a special edition is in this set,” said James Cameron.
The extended version of Avatar now has a Blu-ray/DVD release date of November 16th in the U.S. (Nov. 15th internationally), and not only will it include the original theatrical release and the special edition re-release (including a family-friendly alternate audio track), but also a THIRD version of the film with another 16 minutes added, including an alternate opening scene on Earth! Links for pre-order as soon as they are available, but see the press release below for all the juicy details including all the extra special features been loaded on to this release!
Apparently I wasn’t the only one that got Avatar – so did 5.5 million others, with 1.5 million of that being Blu-ray copies, beating The Dark Knight‘s 1st-day sales record – despite the promise of the 3D Blu-ray (and expanded) version later this year. I’m watching right now, so read on for an live in-progress review (check for updates) from someone who hasn’t seen the movie yet (yes, shame on me…)
In a surprise move (given the possibility of a re-release), blockbuster Avatar may be poised to break more records soon as it sees both a Blu-ray and DVD release on April 22nd, 2010. Follow those links and pre-order now!!!
Haven’t got enough of Pandora yet? It looks like you’ll be able to get a little more this summer – in the form of 10-12 extra minutes that might be added for a summer re-release of Avatar. James Cameron and Fox are reportedly discussing the possibility. This could be a big boost to Avatar as well, which has been evicted from most IMAX theaters to make room for Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland.