Ubisoft's Murray Pannell thinks that James Cameron's Avatar (and its game adaptation) could change the world of entertainment much like J.K. Rowling's boy wizard.
Well, okay. Maybe that's a bit misleading - Pannell isn't referring to the entire multimedia Harry Potter franchise. Rather, he's talking about a slightly less grand vision: The blockbuster film franchise based off of J.K. Rowling's books, and the blockbuster videogame franchise based off of the film franchise based off of J.K. Rowling's books.
Pannell (talking to MCV in his first interview since jumping ship from EA to go to Ubisoft) thinks that the James Cameron film (and game), which will be hitting theaters and consoles in 3D at the end of the year, may blow audiences' - and gamers' - collective socks off.
"Avatar looks set to be a world-changing kind of cinema given its pedigree and elements like the 3D," said Pannell. "It reminds me of my experience at EA, working on the original Harry Potter game - which was an incredible entertainment phenomenon."
In particular, Avatar and Harry Potter both have one thing in common - a single creative mind at the helm. Cameron is to Avatar what Rowling is to Potter, and Pannell says that fact helped spur development of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone for those not in the States) since everyone was "terrified of disappointing" the author.
It's probably a safe bet that Avatar won't have the screaming underage legions that made the Potter series so successful, but it is James Cameron, and he has overseen some veritable hits of his own in the past. So let's give him the benefit of the doubt... for the moment.