It is logical that films worldwide do not go to the cinemas in one version because of the different dubbed versions. But the 1,065 different versions of “Avatar 2: The Way Of Water” are a special house number.
Disney and its affiliates
When a movie is finished, it has to go to the cinemas around the world that are supposed to show it. In most cases, this has long been done digitally and no longer with rolls of film that are sent by courier. But that requires different film versions, because the same version is not shown everywhere. Some countries – like Germany – copy movies, so there are dubbed versions. Other countries only use subtitles, so there are subtitled versions there. For “Avatar 2: The way of the waterDubbed versions have been made in 28 different languages and subtitled versions have been made for 51 languages. But that’s only about 80 versions, no more than 1,000.
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Because this standard operating procedure was far from everything in James Cameron’s film, which is extraordinary in many ways. In addition, Cameron’s epic is not only available in 3D and 2D, doubling the number of versions for the first time, but in a really wide variety of technical versions. With an extra high frame rate of 48 frames per second, in HDR and 4K, for IMAX in a different image format, with a wide variety of sound mixes for the various latest high-end systems that exist in this field and even with different lighting levels.
Because there were all kinds of combinations of all this, 1065 different ones, each unique version of “Avatar 2: The Way Of Water” was eventually made.
Twice as much as Marvel – an extraordinary record
According to the Hollywood Reporter, that number surpasses anything previously heard in the field. A good indication of how special the record number of 1065 different versions is, appears from a comparison with the currently most popular blockbuster series in cinemas: the Marvel films. For a typical Marvel blockbuster like currently “Ant-Man and the Wasp: QuantumaniaAccording to the industry magazine, there are usually about 500 versions in different languages, with subtitles, in 3D etc. of a film. So “Avatar 2” has twice as many.
This required a logistical effort that has probably never existed before. After all, such blockbusters are usually only ready shortly before the cinema release. Vice President Kim Beresford, responsible for planning and organization at Disney, explained in a technical presentation on the proceedings that the film was split into 15 parts in order to produce the various versions at least in part at an early stage. But in the end you not only worked on it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you even developed completely new systems in advance – as befits Cameron film – to make and keep track of the different versions.
In the last five days before the theatrical release alone, the quality control of about 800 versions had to be checked. After all, the whole process is not just about making all that, you also have to check each version for errors etc. so that you can say, for example, that the “3D 4K HFR version with sound in Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision and original sound and German subtitles” everything is fine.
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