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Towards the end of the Avatar panel at Comic-Con today, James Cameron dropped a bombshell: 15 minutes of the film will be screened in digital theaters for free across the globe on August 21. After viewing the Avatar footage, I think an event such as this will serve the film well—at least, much more so than a typical trailer and marketing campaign.

Read Cameron’s complete announcement, along with some thoughts on what it means, after the break.

We’re going to do something unprecedented. It’s a social marketing experiment. We’re going to take over as many IMAX 3D theaters and other select 3D theaters worldwide on August 21 and we’re going to let an international global audience come see 15 minutes of Avatar for free. It’s going to be Avatar day.

Not only will this be a good move towards spreading good word about Avatar, it will also serve to help make more people aware of 3D films in general. I’m sure many have still yet to try watching a film either because they would rather save money on the 2D version, or simply don’t have access to a 3D theater. For the first group, a free screening might convince them to at least head to a theater to check out 3D projection. For the second, it may not be as helpful, but potentially the free screenings could make people aware of 3D theaters near them that they were previously unaware of.

Discuss: Do you think Avatar day is a worthwhile experiment? What else would it take to make people aware of 3D film screenings, or is that even something worth spending time on?

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