According to an article in The New York Times, when it's all said and done, Avatar could be looking at a final budget of around half a billion dollars (or $500,000), which would easily make it the most expensive movie ever made. It's a risky investment for Fox, especially since Avatar comes packed with an original story that's not based on an existing property and doesn't have a built-in audience, save for those hardcore fans of filmmaker James Cameron. Avatar also doesn't come stacked with A-list talent, and while folks are beginning to know who Sam Worthington is after watching him in Terminator Salvation this past summer, he's still not a name that will sell tickets.

That's why if tickets are to be sold, it's going to be through the film's marketing -- which unveiled its first giant wave of ads during the football games on Sunday, as well as during this year's World Series. According to the NYT, Fox's Rupert Murdoch claimed to be "excited and moved" after recently watching a cut of Avatar -- but the studio still has a plan in place in case the film doesn't burst out of the gate, and that's to debut an Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel one week later. The first Chipmunks film was made for around $60 million and wound up taking in over $200 million, so it's the film that sources at Fox are quietly calling their secret weapon.

You can check out a few new Avatar ads after the jump. What do you think about the film so far? A risky investment, or one that's sure to pay off when it hits theaters?
categories Movies, Sci-Fi