James Cameron’s blockbuster, Avatar, has all the hallmarks of a major film. Whether it’s the bright colors, bizarre characters, or a story that is just loosely enough based on Earth to be relatable to those watching, this sci-fi masterpiece is up there with Titanic for Cameron’s most impressive work.
The events take place in 2154, where humans have tapped all of the natural resources on Earth. The end result is a major energy crisis, which leads to mining by The Resources Development Administration for the mineral unobtanium on Pandora.
First There Was Avatar…
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For those familiar with the franchise, the story is common knowledge. For those with no Avatar info, it’s all gibberish. Either way, here’s some information that everyone can wrap their heads around – $2.84 Billion. That’s how much, as of today, Avatar has grossed worldwide.
Initially, the film brought in big bucks right from the get-go. Shattering records, Avatar soared into the box office. Opening weekend brought in $77 million when shown on around 7,000 screens at 3,452 sites. That number made the film the highest-grossing opening ever for a movie that isn’t either a sequel, remake, or direct adaptation. The number also placed it just behind I Am Legend as the second highest-grossing December opening weekend.
There was plenty of controversy surrounding the film upon release, though, with many questioning the budget. With some citing over a billion dollars for marketing and production, it was a spokesman for Fox telling TheWrap that the correct number is “is $237 million, with $150 million for promotion, end of story.”
Then There Was Avengers: Endgame
In 2019, it was the release of another Disney film, Avengers Endgame, that knocked Avatar from it’s soarin’ blue perch. Taking in a staggering $2.79 Billion, the might hero movie was flying above all others.
Shadowing much of the success that other films in its range have had, Endgame showed a strong international presence. The Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth juggernaut gobbled up $629 Million in China, $105 Million in South Korea and $85 Million in Brazil.
The global income that the Avengers movie showed would serve as a bit of foreshadowing. Live by the worldwide box office, die by the world wide box office.
The crossover from second to first took place on an unassuming March 2021 weekend. It was then that everyone’s favorite Alien found himself rereleased in China, grabbing up enough ticket sales to edge out Avengers: Endgame for the overall record.
The return to form was the culmination of an eleven year battle for the top spot that few could have predicted. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, explained his take on the back and forth to CNBC.
“These two titans of cinema have been dueling on box-office Mt. Olympus for years,” he explained. “As ‘Avatar’ once again takes the crown, the importance of the big screen experience both in terms of its cultural impact and of course its massive revenue generating power is brought into sharper focus.”
In a moment of Disney solidarity, Avenger directors Joe and Anthony Russo, congratulated Cameron via social media.
“Passing the gauntlet back to you,” they wrote in the post.
Post COVID International Theaters
Given the world’s return to normal, screening the movie in China is not only a financial boom but a social one for the rebuilding planet. By presenting it to theater goers, eager to get back into the swing of things, Avatar is poised to breed discussion and entertainment just as it did over a decade ago.
Jon Landau, Avatar producer explained, “We are proud to reach this great milestone, but (James Cameron) and I are most thrilled that the film is back in theaters during these unprecedented times, and we want to thank our Chinese fans for their support.”
In China, the film business is booming. With many theaters already open for months now, the nation is seeing a strong showing at the box office for whatever is available, much less a beloved film like Avatar.
Avatar isn’t over, either. The first entry in the franchise’s five upcoming films is set for release in 2022. Over the next decade, fans will be treated to a quintuple story, much like the Star Wars collection.
Disney is currently the king when perusing the list of films with the highest-grossing overall numbers, owning five of the top and eight of the overall top ten. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avengers: Infinity War, 2019′s live-action remake of The Lion King, Avengers, and Frozen II all make up the company’s dream team. With a roster like that, one can only imagine what titles Mickey Mouse has up his sleeve as we move forward.
Sources: Box Office Mojo, TheWrap, BBC, CNBC
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