'Avatar' Toys Tout 'Augmented Reality' Web Link

By Robert Marich

   July 26, 2009 – Mattel is trying to put some special sauce on its toy line licensed from upcoming theatrical Avatar by touting there’s online content unique to each toy. A press release from the toy company calls the special content “augmented reality technology.”
   Says a Mattel press release: “Each action figure, vehicle and creature in the product line will come with a 3-D web tag, called an i-TAG, which consumers can “scan” using a home computer’s webcam. Scanning the i-TAG will reveal special content onscreen unique to the corresponding product. Exact content varies for each item, but could include biographical information, additional images and animated models of the figures.”
    “When the i-TAG for deluxe figures, vehicles or creatures are placed under a webcam, animated 3-D models will 'come alive' through engaging, evading or defending moves,” the press release continues. “Place two i-TAGs from the ‘Battle Pack’ together and the 3-D images will interact with each other.”
   20th Century Fox is scheduled to premiere Avatar Dec. 18. The estimated $200 million special effects and 3-D extravaganza is highly anticipated because it unites the studio and filmmaker – James Cameron – who teamed for all-time box office champ Titanic. Grossing $601 million domestically (USA and Canada) and $1.84 billion worldwide, Titanic made its debut one day later in 1997.
  An extended trailer for Avatar will be presented Aug. 21 in 3-D only in select theaters and on IMAX screens. “In addition on the 21st,” says a separate 20th Century Fox press release, game outfit “Ubisoft® will unveil the trailer for their videogame James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game, and Mattel will reveal the action figures for the film’s Avatar and alien Na’vi characters.
   The studio PR adds, “Now, after four years of actual production work, Avatar delivers a fully immersive cinematic experience of a new kind, where the revolutionary technology invented to make the film, disappears into the emotion of the characters and the sweep of the story.”

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