Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Number 01 worldwide in 38 days. Avatar breaks Titanic's worldwide record.

I was sure it would never be done in my lifetime. I called in the 'Joe DiMaggio 56-game hitting streak' of box office records. But it has been done. In just 38 days, James Cameron's Avatar has surpassed the $1.843 billion that James Cameron's Titanic amassed in its 41 weeks of theatrical play. We can argue all we want about 3D prices and general ticket price inflation, but this is an incredible feat in any filmgoing era, let alone our splintered generation. Today's audiences have far more entertainment options to keep them out of the theaters. Back in Christmas 1997 and Winter 1998, the Internet was barely in its infancy, bootlegs of any kind were a non-factor, and DVDs barely on the radar. Just as no one expects the season finale of Lost to match the numbers for the finale of MASH, today's moviegoers are far more divided and have far more entertainment options that they did even twelve years ago. I don't think anyone thought Titanic's worldwide record would be topped within a generation. No one thought it would be done so quickly, and by the same filmmaker no less. This is absolutely astonishing, all the more so for the fact that it's not anywhere close to being finished. While the domestic numbers may be curbed by the inevitable loss of IMAX and 3D screens, the international numbers have no real ceiling at this point. Avatar has grossed $1.304 billion in overseas markets alone. There are only four other movies that have ever grossed even half that in overseas receipts. Avatar has today grossed $1.859 billion in global grosses. There are only eight other films that have grossed at least $929 million worldwide, or half that number. Who knows where this movie will stop? Amazing...

Scott Mendelson

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