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That Avatar came out just as the Copenhagen talks were disolving into irrelevance is something a few commentators noted. It's a blockbuster with a strong environmental theme; so much so that sceptics have been warning that it's: "every militant global warming supporter's dream come true."

That Avatar came out just as the Copenhagen talks were disolving into irrelevance is something a few commentators noted. It's a blockbuster with a strong environmental theme; so much so that sceptics have been warning that it's: "every militant global warming supporter's dream come true."

Well, you can only hope.

This weekend the movie broke records again; box office sales have now topped $1.3 billion. If culture's part is to create a narrative that allows people to grasp a different future, then maybe the sceptics aren't having it all their way.

There's another lesson to be learned too. Mashable points out the substantial role social media played in creating this juggernaut. A huge, well-coordinated campaign was based on spreading the word through well-made trailers and multi-media give-aways. Like it or not, this is the way forward for arts producers of all stripes, big and small.

As I've said before, if the arts are going to have the kind of heft they need to argue their case in the coming cold climate, they need to engage with their audience and their peers more closely using the box of tricks that social media gives us. The tools are all there; it's just a matter of figuring out how they're going to work for us.

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