Luke Wilson ended up upstairs, while legendary writer-director James Cameron held court as he presented his first feature film in 12 years, an impressive mix of live action and CGI set on a fictional, far-off planet called Pandora.
His stars--Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Michelle Rodriguez, Joel Moore, and Sigourney Weaver--were over the moon about their new film, chattering together and excitedly facing the phalanx of reporters and photographers that lined Hollywood Boulevard. Weaver, whose history with Cameron goes back to 1986 and the iconic "Aliens," gushed about the auteur's skill at creating a completely believable whole new world.
"Jim Cameron is the only one I know who understands that special effects are not for effect," Weaver said. "He uses them to enhance the emotional story."
Weaver gets to be both human and alien in the eye-popping 3-D flick, as does leading man Worthington, but Zoe Saldana is only seen in the film as a 10-foot tall, blue-skinned member of Pandora's Na'vi race. But the fact that she's a bit hard to recognize doesn't matter a bit.
"This role has been the best role that has ever crossed my path," she said, and considering that she played Uhura in this year's hugely popular new take on "Star Trek," that's saying something.
CCH Pounder, Wes Studi, and Laz Alonso are also just faintly recognizable in their roles, but that didn't stop them from celebrating along with family and friends at the after party held in the Grand Ballroom of Hollywood & Highland after the nearly 3-hour film unspooled. There we spotted Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, along with Audrina Patridge, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason Alexander, Virginia Madsen, Bill Paxton, Leona Lewis, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Masi Oka in the crush, all eager rub shoulders with Cameron and his wife, actress Suzy Amis.
Contortionists hung from the ceiling, blue light bathed the scene, and the conversations surrounded just how much the movie--supposedly the most expensive ever made, with an estimated cost of $230 million -- will haul in on opening weekend. We know that some his competition felt the heat, as several of Hollywood's biggest directors made sure to make the scene. There was "Transformers" helmer Michael Bay, "X-Men" auteur Bryan Singer, "Public Enemies" boss Michael Mann, and even Cameron's ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, whose "The Hurt Locker" is already scooping up awards and nominations right and left.
But considering how incredible "Avatar" is, James Cameron may just find himself the "King of the World" once again.