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01 October 2023

Cameron sinks his own Titanic’s box office record

By Reuters

Avatar has surpassed Titanic as the highest-grossing movie worldwide, giving director James Cameron a remarkable double a week before his sci-fi spectacular is expected to rack up a slew of Oscar nominations.

Gregg Brilliant, a spokesman for the News Corp-owned studio 20th Century Fox, said on Tuesday the worldwide box office total for Avatar stands at $1.859 billion (Dh6.8bn), beating the $1.843bn racked up by Cameron’s romantic drama Titanic in 1997-1998.

Avatar broke the record in a little over six weeks. The film has enjoyed an unbroken reign in most countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Australia.

The data are not adjusted for inflation. Ticket sales got an additional boost from premium prices for 3D screenings. Fox said 72 per cent of worldwide sales come from 3D engagements. The action-adventure movie, starring Sigourney Weaver, is set in 2154 and tells the tale of a disabled ex-Marine sent to Earth to infiltrate a race of 10-foot blue aliens and persuade them to let his employer mine their homeland for natural resources.

More than five years in the making, it was reportedly one of the most expensive films with a budget of at least $300 million, due partly to its high-tech special effects and the creation of a new language used by the extra-terrestrial Navi race.

Despite some industry skepticism last year, the movie was released in December to glowing reviews and went on to win a Golden Globe for best drama earlier this month.

Tom O’Neil, of TheEnvelope.com, said Avatar was not just a sure bet for a Best Picture Academy Award nomination on February 2, but a leading contender to win the top Oscar on March 7. It is also expected to dominate the technical categories.