How many of us have ever bothered to wonder why the titles appear in the places they do? And why the director chose that certain font in their movie? I didn't pay much attention to either until we learnt about why they did what they did.
A movie could also be opened with the titles on a blank screen. Surely thats self expanatory. This is completely unoriginal but is used in quite a few movies. The audience have to watch the opening titles then and it gets pretty boring. It doesn't bring much excitement but it makes the movie feel a little (just a little) eerie. An example of this would be the film 'Donnie Darko'.
Moving on to font. Have any of us really taken a second to think about the font? Not really. I mean why would you, right? In actual fact, we do notice the font, it's just the main thing we see. Its' noticed in the back of our minds. And seeing as we will eventually make our own opening sequence the font will be a major(ish) thing for us to consider even if the audience won't talk about it.
The font we use could be:
But a font represents much more than just presenting you with the title. They, or in fact anything, has a connotation and a denotation.
A denotation is the obvious. So if you look at the font, it would be the size, colour, shape etc.
A connotation is in between the lines. So in a font, it could symbolise what the movie could be related to. If your thinking 'How can a font tell you what the movie is about?' You should be surprised by stuff I'm about to tell you. Hopefully.
They don't really look the same do they? The conclusion I sort of came to was that James Cameron paid the makers of the font so that he could change it to make it look the way he wanted it. Because this font is one of the orignal fonts in all word processing software. Did you know that? Probably not. So why did James Cameron use such a common font? My first answer? He couldn't afford a fancy font. My second answer? He could just get any old font and edit it with his magical editing software and make it look even more amazing. It went something along those lines.
If you look at the Papyrus font, it's pretty thin, stick-like and ancient looking. These would be the denotations. The things you notice straight away. The connotations could be that it symbolises treasure maps, old movies and not much technology around. Papyrus is the paper Egyptians used to write on. It's made from layers of thin tree bark compressed with water.
The Avatar title connotations are that the letters are all capital letters. They are all evenly spaced out and are a blue-ish silvery metallic sort of colour. The denotations to all this are that it looks sort of alien-like, stepping into the unknown or undiscovered.
Mix the connotations and denotations of both fonts...and that gives you the reason why James Cameron chose this font.