We ’ ra support in an historic period of entertainment extremism, where passionate fans go to farcical lengths to engage in hyperbolic talking points about their darling film or franchise. It can be exhausting, wading through social media and hearing people make bold declarations not based on anything remotely resembling the truth .
nowadays, we ’ ra going to tackle a topic discussed on-line at great length over the last month, ever since James Cameron ’ s Avatar was re-released in theaters and once again became the most successful movement picture always. A familiar topic and subsequent narrative that has emerged was discussed at great length when the film was first released over a decade ago : Did Avatar have a meaning cultural impingement ?
rather than contribution feelings, let ’ s take a moment to establish some facts. What determines a cultural shock ? To answer this motion, we ’ ll use the movie that redefined pop-culture affect in the advanced era and the most influential movie always released, Star Wars, equally well as some early democratic films that had a survive impingement on our collective culture .
When released back in May of 1977, George Lucas ’ love letter to sci-fi venture became a massive collision and as of this writing, is however the most culturally impactful movie always released. Using Star Wars as a template, let ’ s examine the impingement of Avatar in terms of pop culture impact .
1. Massive Box Office Success
clearly, Avatar has easily cleared the beginning benchmark ; it was an overpowering hit at the box office create over $ 2.7 billion. The movie was a staple in theaters for months after exhaust, something that was quite park when Star Wars was released in 1977. At the fourth dimension Avatar hit theaters, most blockbusters were in and out of multiplexes within 90 days .
Like Cameron ’ s previous film, Titanic, Avatar had staying ability. It was a solid earner week after workweek. People were making rejoinder visits to the dramaturgy to experience the film again and again. Like Star Wars, Avatar was a water cool movie that generated a batch of exhilaration from fans .
immediately, let ’ s lecture about a few things. First off, not every movie that has a cultural impact has to be a huge box-office success. It doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate hurt, but there are movies with a meaning cultural impact that scantily made a cheep at the box position ( Office Space ). Concurrently, just because a movie is a massive reach at the field doesn ’ t mean it has a significant cultural impingement. This is a key point of framing the definition of ‘ cultural affect ’ .
To me, cultural impact is measured by what happens outdoor of the movie field. That takes us to our second base point on the ‘ pop culture seismic scale ’ .
George Lucas made a number of identical understanding moves when dealing with twentieth Century Fox. The most significant being keeping the trade rights to Star Wars. To quote Krusty the Klown, “ That ’ s the sweetest plumb ”. Star Wars merchandise was all the fury after the film was released. T-Shirts, lunchboxes, posters, trade cards, pins, flamethrowers… Lucas was slapping ‘ May The Force Be With You ” on anything and everything generating billions of dollars globally even after Return of the Jedi came out and the view of no more Star Wars movies felt like a real possibility .
In comparison, Avatar didn ’ thymine fare closely angstrom good when it came to merchandising. There were legal action figures that didn ’ triiodothyronine sell incredibly well, a video recording game that scantily warranted mention, t-shirts and backpacks… but none of it was flying off the shelves. Within a class of release, Avatar trade had already vanished from shelves or found itself in the clearance section of most major retailers .
With Avatar: The Way of Water launching this December and a modern video game from Ubisoft coming approximately the same fourth dimension, this could change. But as of writing this article, Avatar merch international relations and security network ’ t in truth a matter. You don ’ triiodothyronine see kids playing with Avatar natural process figures or wearing Avatar backpacks to school. How many kids do you see dressing up as Na ’ six for Halloween ?
The movie did not make an impingement outside of the theatrical performance know .
3. Memes & Memorability
“ May the force be with you ”
“ Do or do not, there is no hear. ”
“ Why, you bigheaded backward scruffy-looking nerf herder. ”
“ These aren ’ t the droids you ’ rhenium looking for. ”
“ I got a bad feel about this ”
There are five random quotes from the original Star Wars movies. Most of them were typed from memory. Star Wars is a treasure treasure trove of quotable lines vitamin a well as memorable and meme-able moments. even without the add profit of the Prequel Trilogy, which might be the most memed movies of the newfangled millennium.
Star Wars has indeed many boundlessly quote moments. so many lines that have become catchphrases in pop polish and are used in countless television receiver shows and movies. Kevin Smith made an entire multi-decade career in show commercial enterprise making references to the original trilogy. Star Wars memes and quotes are woven into western culture and a significant percentage of the thread count when it comes to our collective pop culture tapestry .
Is Avatar something you see referenced frequently outside the initial publish of the movie ? Are there celebrated quotes from Avatar that are constantly referenced on-line ? Any Avatar memes that pop up in your social media feed every other day ? Quotes form the movie that are used frequently ? The answer is ‘ no ’. Avatar’s most popular meme international relations and security network ’ t even from the movie. It ’ s an SNL sketch featuring Ryan Gosling becoming obsessed over the Papyrus font used on the Avatar bill poster .
once again, as a cultural entity, Avatar failed to make an impingement outside the dramaturgy .
The sincerest form of flattery is something that many impactful movies are credited with and surely help make the case for cultural shock. Take a film like Die Hard, for exercise. There was an integral bungalow diligence of Die Hard clones that went into output after the Bruce Willis military action classical became a big hit. subsequent movies that tried to fill a alike thematic space were described as “ Die Hard on a ( lacuna ) ”. Passenger 57, Air Force One and Executive Decision were “ Die Hard on a Plane ”. Under Siege was “ Die Hard on a Boat ”. Speed was “ The bus that couldn ’ triiodothyronine slow down ” “ Die Hard on a Bus ” .
While Die Hard might not have spawned a multi-billion dollar merchandise course, it did inspire a batch of imitators and is still a staple of meme culture. In a few weeks ’ meter, people online will continue the vacation tradition of idly asking “ Is Die Hard a Christmas movie ? ” even though everyone stopped caring somewhere around 2015 .
Star Wars created many new substitution class, but there weren ’ t a batch of imitators. In hurt of the film ’ s absurd level of success, most studios didn ’ thyroxine try and copy the recipe that led to Star Wars ‘ massive achiever. certain, there were a handful of efforts like The Last Starfighter or Battlestar Galactica, but due to technological breakthroughs and advancements that George Lucas helped pioneer, the market for imitators was extremely limited .
Avatar, on the early hand, didn ’ thyroxine truly generate a batch of imitators. At best, it influenced studios to dump money into trying to make 3D financially viable and avail sell the spectacle of movies that could barely entertain with two dimensions, and adding a third base wasn ’ metric ton going to help ( Gulliver’s Travels, I ’ meter looking at you ). Avatar wasn ’ t importantly influential creatively nor did it inspire a swerve of imitators looking to capitalize on Avatar mania .
5. Lore and/or An Expanded Universe
One of the things about massive cultural phenomenons ; they tend to inspire audiences who want to learn more about the fictional populace portrayed in the film. Most successful blockbuster franchises cross into other mediums spawning books and graphic novels that propel the mythos forwards in the gaps between modern cinematic installments .
In the years since Star Wars entered the dictionary, there have been hundreds of novelizations, comics and video games that have built upon the basis of the original films and created an interconnect universes with a deep and satisfying lore .
There have been Avatar novels and comics which I ’ thousand surely have attracted some readers but after 12 years the universe of Pandora hasn ’ triiodothyronine expanded much beyond what we saw in the master movie. There ’ mho a composition park attraction shoehorned into Disney ’ s Animal Kingdom theme park which has never generated much buzz. While Cameron and ship’s company are talking about expanding the global of Avatar, the ‘ World of Pandora ’ outside of the movie hasn ’ metric ton been significantly explored, nor has there been any sports fan demand for them to do thus .
Avatar, while a enormously successful box position experience, never managed a goodly impact on pop culture. It ’ s a enormously successful movie that has, in the 13 years since publish, has never transcended the movie dramaturgy and evolved into something culturally relevant. It ’ south impact is much nonexistent. It international relations and security network ’ thyroxine even the most impactful artistic enterprise with the diagnose Avatar. That appointment would go to Avatar: The Last Airbender .
so while passionate fans of Avatar might claim differently, the most successful movie of all prison term had no veridical cultural affect. barely making a blip on the pop-culture seismic scale.
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Let ’ s see back in a class after The Way of Water has landed and we ’ ll see if there have been any significant changes to the pop-culture landscape…