Friday, July 9, 2010

Avatar, set for IMAX/3D re-release on August 27th, nets James Cameron $350 million. As the first theatrical run ends, why he deserves it.

I've been meaning to run the numbers, and today is as good a day as any. First of all, news broke over the last two days that A) Avatar would be returning to IMAX and 3D theaters in an eight-minute-longer special edition on August 27th and B) the film's success has netted writer/director James Cameron $350 million in personal income. The re-release was mainly fueled by the not-unlikely theory that Avatar would have kept pulling it in had it not been forced to surrender the IMAX and 3D screens to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in March. But, for all intents and purposes, Avatar's groundbreaking initial theatrical run is pretty much over. So, let's see how it did...

In purely domestic numbers, the film pulled in $749.6 million. That beats the gross of Titanic by $148.8 million. There are only eleven other films in history that have done even half that amount ($374.8 million). There are only fifty-seven other films in history that have grossed even a third of that amount ($249.8 million). And cut that number into four ($187.4 million), and you have just 117 other films that have grossed even a quarter of what Avatar made in the states. But when you get into worldwide numbers, that's where the eyes pop out. The current worldwide total for Avatar is $2.7308 billion. There is only one movie ever released that has done even half that amount ($1.3654 billion). Yup, it's James Cameron's Titanic at $1.8432 billion. The next highest-grossing film is Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which grossed $1.1191 billion, or about 41% of Avatar's global haul. Heck, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy grossed $2.9 billion, or just around $200 million more than just Avatar.

leads its next closest rival, Titanic, by $887.6 million. In all of recorded motion-picture history, only sixteen films have even crossed the $887 million mark total. So we know that only Titanic has grossed even half of what Avatar made, let's go further. Cut Avatar's total into thirds and you get $910.26 million. Only fourteen other films have grossed even a third of what Avatar pulled in. How many films have made even a quarter of what Avatar grossed ($682.7 million)? Just thirty-seven other films. And just sixty-three films in motion-picture history have made even a fifth ($546.16 million) of what James Cameron's opus pulled in. Ninety-eight films have pulled in at least a sixth ($455.1 million) of Avatar's take. Yes, none of this takes into account inflation, but Cameron isn't being paid with bills from 1939. On a dollar-by-dollar basis compared with every other blockbuster ever made, Cameron deserves every penny of whatever Fox is willing to pay him.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah but has "Gone with the Wind" still the biggest TICKET seller?


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