Science-fiction epic Avatar soared to a new global box office record, taking $1.85 billion and sinking Titanic to become the biggest earning film of all time, figures showed Tuesday.
On Monday, January 25, Avatar officially passed Titanic to become the highest grossing film in history at the worldwide box office, 20th Century Fox studios said in a statement.
Remarkably, Avatar director James Cameron had only himself to beat, and by Monday his groundbreaking 3-D blockbuster had taken in 16 million dollars more than his own 1997 film Titanic, leaving him with the two biggest movies of all time.
Avatar had taken $1.859 billion, compared with the box-office total for the Oscar-winning Titanic, which took $1.843 billion, the studios said in its statement.
It s official: the king of the world is the king of the world again, box office analyst Jeff Bock told AFP.
Like the ship itself, many observers thought Titanic s record box office was unsinkable. Not so. Leave it to the captain of the ship, James Cameron, to sink his own vessel and resurface with a whole new world.
The $500-million epic has been hailed as a cinematic milestone for its use of state-of-the-art 3-D cameras and motion capture technology which Cameron was instrumental in helping to develop.
Set on a distant planet called Pandora, in the heart of a vast tropical forest, it recounts how strife erupts between an indigenous tribe and an Earth-based consortium pillaging for a precious mineral.
I see it as a broader metaphor, not so intensely politicized as some would make it, but rather that s how we treat the natural world as well, the Canadian-born Cameron said at last month s premiere in London.
Avatar walked away with the best picture and best director at the Golden Globes this month, cementing its status as a front-runner for the Oscars, with the nominations due to be unveiled next week.
We are deeply gratified that so many millions of people around the globe have embraced Avatar, 20th Century Fox said.
The themes of protecting the environment, respecting life, and yearning for a peaceful planet have united moviegoers worldwide.
The futuristic fantasy tells the story of paralyzed war veteran Jake, who is sent on a mission to Pandora where, through his genetically engineered avatar body, he falls in love with a blue humanoid named Neytiri of the alien Na vi race.
Instead of helping the US military to extract the valuable mineral from the ground, Jake (Sam Worthington) and a crusty doctor, played by Sigourney Weaver, decide to help the Na vi defend their homeland.
It was Cameron s first movie since Titanic, which starred Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet, scooped 11 Oscars at the 1998 ceremony.
But box office analyst Bock pointed out that Avatar rocketed to its record in just 39 days, while Titanic sailed across screens for 41 weeks to reach its total.
He added that 72 percent of the global box office had come from 3D venues.
Cameron accepted his Golden Globes speaking partly in Na vi – the language spoken by the blue-skinned peace-loving alien heroes of the film invented for the movie by a University of Southern California linguistics expert.
Cameron is that rare combination of movie magician and master tactician. His films aren t just unspooled, they are unleashed. In the end, they are spectacles and you have to see them to believe, said Bock.
His films don t follow the worn path; they blaze trails and become part of the cultural zeitgeist of the day.