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Filmism.net Dispatch December 21, 2009

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You're probably already read a swag of Avatar news, like how it's taken US$70m in the US ($159m in total with the rest of the world) after the first weekend. I predict a little week two drop-off because word about the clunky story and script will get around, but the must-see quotient will stay high. It probably won't do Titanic numbers, and in years to come it'll be remembered more for the breakthrough of the technology than the box office, but what's most exciting about it is something I've mentioned before.

It's new. It's not a sequel, remake, comic book, literary or TV adaptation. For the first time in a long time, a Hollywood tentpole movie comes with no USP apart from the reputation of its director. For once, the filmmaking craft is what matters. Someone at Fox was prepared to spend $300m on it, and if this weekend is anything to go by, it'll vindicate them. Hopefully Hollywood's listening.

In more Cameron news, even as he talked up possible Avatar sequels, it emerged that he was producing the Fantastic Voyage remake I read about awhile back. When I first reported it, Roland Emmerich was in the director's chair, but he left to do 2012. As of tdoay, no director is attached, but watch this space...

It was only a matter of time before the mash-up darling of the literary world, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, got the movie treatment, and I can almost imagine Natalie Portman in the title role, but David O (I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings) Russell at the helm? That's just bizarre.

A Ghostbusters 3 tidbit from Sigourney Weaver while promoting Avatar has movie fans all a-Twitter, the former Dana Barrett saying Bill Murray's character of Peter Venkman might be a ghost himself.

Bryan Singer's confirmed for the next X-Men sequel, and we said goodbye this week to Dan O'Bannon, the visionary scriptwriter behind Alien, and Brittany Murphy of Sin City and Happy Feet, whose tragic death comes barely into her thirties.

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