James Cameron’s little sci-fi film called “Avatar” has become the fifth movie to ever hit the $1 billion worldwide mark, having yet another fantastic weekend with $68.3 million domestically.
Currently No. 1 for the third-straight weekend, 20th Century Fox’s “Avatar” raised its domestic total to $352.1 million after just 17 days. The film also added $133 million overseas.
Since its opening two weekends earlier, “Avatar” stayed resiliently strong during the busy Christmas and New Year’s weekends. “It’s like a runaway freight train. It just keeps doing business,” said Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston.
“Here’s what’s happening: I think everybody has to see ‘Avatar’ once. Even people who don’t normally go to the movies, they’ve heard about it and are saying, ‘I have to see it.’ Then there’s those people seeing it multiple times.”
“Avatar” was Cameron’s first film since 1997’s “Titanic,” the biggest modern blockbuster with $1.8 billion worldwide.
Cameron now is the only filmmaker to direct two movies that have topped $1 billion. Along with “Titanic,” the others are “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at $1.13 billion, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” at $1.06 billion and “The Dark Knight” at a fraction over $1 billion, according to box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
With “Avatar” closing in on No. 2 film “The Return of the King,” Cameron is in striking distance of having the two top-grossing movies globally.
“Avatar” has had a price advantage over those other billion-dollar movies. About 75 percent of its domestic business has come from theaters showing it in digital 3-D presentation, those tickets typically costing a few dollars more than admissions for the 2-D version.