Avatar Sinks Titanic!

James Cameron sci-fi flick passes James Cameron big-boat movie as all-time international grosser; Titanic's worldwide record to fall Monday

By Joal Ryan Jan 26, 2010 1:35 AMTags
Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Titantic, Sam Worthington, Zoe SaldanaAvatarWETA, 20th Century Fox

UPDATE: It's official—Avatar's total haul hit $1.859 billion on Monday, surpassing Titanic's $1.843 billion by $16 million, according to Fox.

James Cameron did it to James Cameron.

Cameron's unstoppable Avatar hit $1.29 billion at the international box office, Fox said today, passing Cameron's Titanic mark of $1.24 billion to set the new record. By Monday, the studio estimates, Avatar will top Titanic's worldwide gross of $1.85 billion to become Earth's biggest moneymaker of all time.

And, no, the film is not stopping there.

Within a week to a week and a half, Fox guesstimated, the 3-D- and IMAX-powered Avatar should swipe Titanic's last remaining major record: all-time domestic champ.

Avatar, which grossed $36 million domestically Friday-Sunday, and, oh, by the way, led the box office for a sixth straight weekend, is now at $552.8 million on that ledger. On Saturday, it blew past The Dark Knight for second place on the domestic list. Titanic's once-believed unbeatable $600.8 million will be the next to go.

Rose and Jack, we hardly knew ye.

"Milestones like this are great," calm and composed Fox exec Chris Aronson said today. "It's part of an amazing ride the film has taken us on. [But] this film is still just captivating audiences on a global basis."

So, to answer the question, you celebrate becoming the world's No. 1 film after you're finished being the world's No. 1 film. 

Which, in Avatar's case, may take a while.

Some more notes on the box office weekend:

The $25 million Legion (second place, $18.2 million) did well for a $25 million angel-action movie.

The $31 million Extraordinary Measures (seventh place, $7 million) did poorly for a $31 million Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford movie.

The $48 million The Tooth Fairy (fourth place, $14.5 million) did better than Extraordinary Measures, but not much better. 

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (eighth place, $6.5 million) topped $200 million domestically; It's Complicated (ninth place, $6.2 million) moved in on $100 million.

• Sandra Bullock's The Blind Side ($4.5 million) departed the Top 10 after nine long weeks, and a super $234 million run. 

Leap Year ($3 million; $23 million overall) got bounced from the Top 10 after two short weekends.

Here's a rundown of the weekend's top-grossing films, per estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

  1. Avatar, $36 million
  2. Legion, $18.2 million
  3. The Book of Eli, $17 million
  4. The Tooth Fairy, $14.5 million
  5. The Lovely Bones, $8.8 million
  6. Sherlock Holmes, $7.1 million
  7. Extraordinary Measures, $7 million
  8. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, $6.5 million
  9. It's Complicated, $6.2 million
  10. The Spy Next Door, $4.8 million

(Originally published Jan. 24, 2010, at 9:18 a.m. PT)


About the only thing Avatar didn't conquer was the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Click right here to see which films—and which stars—did.