‘Avatar’ finally sinks ‘Titanic’ as worldwide box office champ

01.26.10 8 years ago

20th Century Fox/Paramount Pictures

One historical mark has been reached and another is just around the corner for “Avatar.”  With a combined $1.843 billion worldwide, Jim Cameron’s blockbuster has surpassed his last narrative release, “Titanic,” for all time worldwide box office grosses.

The 1997 phenomenon which cemented the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as well as took Celine Dion to mega-superstardom ended it’s journey with $600.8 million domestic and $1.242 billion for a then unimaginable cume of $1.838 billion.  “Avatar” has so far grossed $551.7 million in the U.S. and $1.287 billion overseas. 

With Oscar heat surrounding the picture and minimal declines, the adventure is expected to win its seventh box office frame this weekend.  The only film that is a possible threat to knock “Avatar” off its perch is the high-tracking “Dear John” which opens on Feb. 5.  At that point, “Avatar” should have already reached the $600 million mark stateside.

As to where “Avatar’s” massive cume will end up not even industry professionals will make public predictions at this point.  Especially with some exhibition executives have speculated “Avatar” could gross over $2 billion overseas alone.  In the U.S., however, a slowdown should occur by March 5 when “Alice in Wonderland” stealing a significant number of 3-D screens from the Sci-Fi epic.

The bigger question is how many tickets has “Avatar” sold compared to the other four movies in the $1 billion club: “The Dark Knight,” “Titanic,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”  Significantly higher priced 3-D and IMAX tickets have fueled “Avatar’s” record haul and Fox executives clearly want to keep that number as quiet as possible as to avoid an unfavorable comparison.  At least until after the Academy Awards on March 5 are over, that is.

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