'Avatar' partners with McDonald's

Promotional deal includes plans for Web site

McDonald's on Thursday detailed its promo partnership with Fox on James Cameron's "Avatar," including sneak peaks of a planned interactive Web site based on the sci-fi actioner's fictional world of Pandora.

"We're engaging consumers around the world with one of the most unique digital experiences we've ever created," McDonald's chief marketing officer Mary Dillon said.

Set to unspool worldwide Dec. 18, "Avatar" had its world premiere in London on Thursday night. The Hollywood premiere is set for Wednesday at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

"McDonald's has taken my vision of Pandora from the big screen to the computer screen and beyond," Cameron said. " 'Avatar' has been my dream for 14 years, and I am extremely happy with how McDonald's is bringing it to life in their restaurants and online."

In the U.S., the fast-food chain will give customers buying Big Macs info on accessing "Avatar" games on dedicated Web sites. It also will use Twitter for a sweepstakes promo.

McDonald's also is set to roll out in-store promotions in Latin America, Australia and Europe.

Separately Thursday, a group of U.S. movie theater executives attended a screening of the film at the Chinese.

Studio execs were hoping for a solid reception after leaning on exhibitors for months to accelerate the conversion of screens to 3D projection in time for "Avatar." Also, Fox has held out for higher-than-average film-rental terms for "Avatar," though nothing that hasn't been sought for major releases by other studios over the years.

Meanwhile, Cameron already is making noise about the prospect of sequels to his pricey pic, produced mostly in motion-capture animation and set to play in both 2D and 3D venues. Its opening weekend will need to impress if it is to kick-start a lucrative theatrical run.
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