An expanded version of Avatar could come this summer

If you saw the 2-hour, 40-minute Avatar and thought, "What this movie could use is another 10 minutes of stuff," then you're in luck: Fox and director James Cameron are talking about adding back in some deleted scenes and re-releasing an even longer version of the 3-D sci-fi epic in late summer.

That's the news in The Hollywood Reporter; Fox apparently doesn't like the idea of leaving money on the table and wants to milk even more from us from screenings in IMAX theaters. (Avatar, which opened in December, had to cede the theaters to other releases, including Alice in Wonderland).

As for how much additional footage Cameron might add to "Avatar," the guessing began early Thursday when Imax CEO Richard Gelfond said during a Gabelli & Co. investor conference in New York that Cameron had about 40 minutes of additional material that didn't make the theatrical cut. He also predicted a rerelease, which he said probably would occur in the fall.

Cameron had said that he had 10-12 minutes of extra scenes that he cut and could quickly put through postproduction and have ready to add to a director's cut for a theatrical reissue or as an extra on the DVD release. One scene has to do with Jake Sully's avatar proving himself to the Na'vi people; the other involves a native festival during which tribe member Tsu'tey gets drunk.

The maximum length a movie can be released in analog Imax theaters is 170 minutes—a number Cameron was aware of when he made his original edit—so he could add about 10 minutes to the 160-minute current run time and still be in all Imax locations. That seems more likely than trying to add as much as 40 minutes.

The summer re-release would follow a home video premiere in 2-D form, which will happen as soon as next month and no later than May.

So ... will you line up again to see Avatar 2.0?

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