Print 118 comment(s) - last by Aloonatic.. on Jan 27 at 5:09 AM

  (Source: 20th Century Fox)
Nothing can seem to stop worldwide audiences' love of Cameron's sci-fi epic

While some may criticize it as unoriginal for parallels to past movies and literature, James Cameron's latest masterpiece, Avatar is a smash hit among critics and moviegoers alike. 

Fueled by strong sales of more expensive 3D movie tickets and fueled by a viral marketing campaign online and off, Avatar proved a triumph in a hit or miss market that's seen even veterans like Harrison Ford recently deliver painful flops.  If Avatar has one problem it's that it's having a hard time keeping up with international demand, as the film quickly raked in over $1B USD within only three weeks of its December 10, 2009 release.

From a tech and science standpoint Avatar is landmark success for 3D animation, marking the first time audiences have embraced (for the most part) emotive human-like 3D characters alongside living ones in a drama flick.  The animation pushes the boundaries of current work, as does the xenobiology featured in the film (Avatar hired a team of experienced biologists to help develop the flora and fauna of the fictional world of Na'vi).

Now Avatar is about to make history as it is expected today to become the highest grossing film ever, sinking the Titanic's record total of $1.843B USD.  What is particularly impressive is how quickly Avatar pulled in the total, reaching $1.841B USD over the weekend, after only six weeks in theaters, and less than that in some foreign markets. 

In many countries, Avatar has become the top grossing U.S. film in their history, and even among their total top grossing films -- a remarkable achievement in countries with strong film industries like France.  Internationally the film has earned $1.288B USD, despite getting a bumped from China's standard theaters for a new Chow Yun Fat epic about the Chinese philosopher Confucius (Avatar continues to play in around 900 of China's 3D theaters).

Even as Avatar rolls towards the epic mark of becoming the first movie to break $2B USD, Cameron has announced that two sequels are in the works.  Considering Fox may have spent more than $300M USD on the film, that's great news for the 3D animation industry.

With its success, Avatar has drawn some backlash.  The U.S. Marine Corps disliked the unflattering depiction of the mercenary marine army whose leadership was corrupted by greed and bloodlust.  Others loved Avatar so much that they reported depression and suicidal thoughts out of regret they could not live in the movie's fantasy world.  And still others have complained of the film being too similar to past work, varying from Pocahontas (first popularized to the masses by the 19th century burlesque The Gentle Savage) to Braveheart.

Critics, for the most part, have been deaf to such criticism.  They rewarded Avatar with awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Director and the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.

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pointless comparison
By wushuktl on 1/25/2010 11:55:08 AM , Rating: -1
With movie ticket prices ever increasing, plus the additional hike for 3d viewing, comparing money earned is useless. It would be better if they compared actual quantity of ticket sales, not a summation of ticket prices.

Also, this movie was dumb. Plot, dialog, futuristic air vehicle dressed with warpaint, all dumb!

RE: pointless comparison
By stirfry213 on 1/25/2010 12:03:44 PM , Rating: 3
Think its dumb all you want. But don't be ignorant to the fact that you are in the minority with your opinion.

RE: pointless comparison
By The0ne on 1/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: pointless comparison
By ClownPuncher on 1/25/2010 12:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
My first dog and donkey show was over 25 years ago in Tijuana. Get over the hype

Fixed for accuracy

RE: pointless comparison
By The0ne on 1/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: pointless comparison
By ClownPuncher on 1/25/2010 2:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
I was just having fun with ya. My first trip to IMAX was about 25 years ago too

RE: pointless comparison
By The0ne on 1/25/2010 2:43:04 PM , Rating: 2
Now you got me curious. Where was your first IMAX experience? I've traveled cross-country for about a year and saw many in the midwest, some even in remote places that doesn't seem to house any living thing :) but there are signs saying IMAX this way hahaha Alabama, parts of IOWA I think.

I think I was about 12 years old or younger when the teacher took us to the museums in TJ and IMAX. Shortly after that I had my 2nd experience with Disney's Captain Neo and that was pretty good :)

Anyhow, good times.

RE: pointless comparison
By ClownPuncher on 1/25/2010 2:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

RE: pointless comparison
By thefrozentin on 1/25/2010 3:19:30 PM , Rating: 1
Man i hope i dont end up grumphy, sarcastic and pointless like you when i grow up!!

RE: pointless comparison
By Dorkyman on 1/25/2010 4:35:52 PM , Rating: 2
Touting sales volume is completely irrelevant in an inflation environment unless you adjust for it. According to BoxOfficeMojo, Avatar is a modest #26 on all-time domestic list, just above "Thunderball" but below "Grease." I expect the ranking to climb, though, as sales continue. As mentioned elsewhere, #1 is "Gone With the Wind," #2 is "Star Wars," #3 is "Sound of Music."

Kinda puts it in perspective, doesn't it?

RE: pointless comparison
By Oregonian2 on 1/25/2010 5:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
You have a point, but one also has to keep in mind that "inflation" is an averaged statistical thing that gets applied as if it were a homogeneous thing in it's universal "flat" application. There also are some anomalies in terms of the details about how it's calculated that makes one wonder a little about application. I'm not saying it's not very useful, but it just can't be taken TOO seriously as an exact number one can confidently use.

RE: pointless comparison
By trisct on 1/25/2010 1:22:26 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen both versions (2D and 3D IMAX), but other than the huge screen, I didn't think the 3D IMAX version added much to the movie. A very few scenes made use of the 3D effects in a cute way, but equally many scenes were disrupted by the 3D, which just ended up being distracting, and didn't fit in the action scenes at all.

RE: pointless comparison
By DM0407 on 1/25/2010 1:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
I have yet to see this movie, because its just a movie. This is partially a boycott but mostly that I could give a sh!t about any movie this hyped.

If I wanted to spend $20 on some action only to go home disappointed I'd go to the strip club. I'll wait til it comes out on .torrent, I mean DVD.

RE: pointless comparison
By Sazar on 1/25/2010 4:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
You must have an awesome high-definition 3-D setup at your home to get the gist of what many people talk about when referring to this movie.

As a comparison, Beowulf was a below average movie in 2-D. In 3-D, it was actually compelling and become and average to slightly above average movie.

Avatar, pertaining to the movie, story and acting is average at best. Watch Battle for Terra and you'll get 90% of the same stuff. But, watching the movie for the experience with high-def and in 3-D is something else. It transforms the movie and gives it depth that you don't see from anything else.

It's not just about having things pop out at you. It is about rendering things almost as they are happening in front of you and THAT is where the technology used wowed me.

RE: pointless comparison
By Oregonian2 on 1/25/2010 5:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
It's not just about having things pop out at you. It is about rendering things almost as they are happening in front of you and THAT is where the technology used wowed me.

Exactly. I mark down 3D that pops things at you or drops things into your lap. Idea is to be more realistic -- seeing 3d like one does in real life.

RE: pointless comparison
By StevoLincolnite on 1/25/2010 12:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
All they needed was a "Giant fricken moon laser!" - and it would have been better. :P

RE: pointless comparison
By geddarkstorm on 1/25/2010 1:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
Orbital bombardment would have solved all their problems, and the length of the movie.

RE: pointless comparison
By Souka on 1/25/2010 1:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
Or how about something other than minimal armanments?

You can't tell me with such a valuable mineral, interstellar travel, such advanced genetics, and advanced VR technology (ability to control the man-made Navi), that they didn't have more than a few light aircraft, lightly armed aircraft, and a few mechs.

Okok, sure they didn't expect the trouble... but it would seem quite obvious once things were going to be tough to fall back and call in more troops from Earth.... and as said before... carpet bomb the hell out of the Navi.

RE: pointless comparison
By Sillarra on 1/25/2010 8:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
It took 5 years in cryogenic sleep for Jake Sully to reach long do you think reinforcements will arrive even if they called it at the beginning of the movie?

RE: pointless comparison
By PresidentThomasJefferson on 1/25/2010 8:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
as explained in the MOvie's officia wikipedia/website: The Corporation signed a treaty with the world gov that prohibits orbital weapons in exchange for exclusive monopoly rights to mine the unobtanium (that powers their maglev trains)

It also takes 6 yrs 1-way to reach Pandora ...12 yrs round trip
The methane/toxic atmosphere also corrodes/damages most materials & the super intense magnetic flux interferes with most advanced electronics (that's why their targeting & sensors/electronics don't work at any range near those fields, as explained in the movie)

RE: pointless comparison
By whiskerwill on 1/25/2010 9:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
That all just fairly screams "plot device"

RE: pointless comparison
By delphinus100 on 1/26/2010 4:21:44 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it was. 'Mutara Nebula,' anyone?

(And understand, I still think ST-II was the best Trek movie...)

RE: pointless comparison
By Aloonatic on 1/27/2010 5:09:25 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, Unobtanium...

Was I the only person who laughed on hearing the name of the element that was causing all the friction, with memoires of Mega-lo-Maniac and the amusingly named elements in that game flooding back?

Also, why didn't they just simply the Slanted Mining Co (or whatever it was called) that Mr Burns used to steal the elementary schools oil in Who Shot Mr Burns? :D

RE: pointless comparison
By StraightCashHomey on 1/25/2010 12:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
It's kind of like wins and losses for MLB pitchers. The numbers do suggest success or failure, but it is not a precise measurement on how good the pitcher really is.

Ticket sales would be a better indication of a movie's popularity I think, however, there are other factors that influence that as well such as the state of the economy and the price of the tickets. I, for one, hate going to a theatre because I cannot justify spending $8 to $12 on a frickin' movie that I'm not going to own afterwards.

On the other hand, you have to consider inflation between 1997 and 2009. $1.8B buys less today than it did in 1997.

RE: pointless comparison
By porkpie on 1/25/2010 1:14:03 PM , Rating: 4
BoxofficeMojo and other statistic-collecting agencies do adjust for inflation...but those figures get less attention, because the unadjusted figures always favor new movies, which makes it "news".

Adjusted for inflation, I believe "Gone With the Wind" is still #1, followed by Titanic.

RE: pointless comparison
By Skott on 1/25/2010 12:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
Although it is true ticket prices have risen some and the IMAX 3D does cost more than a regular movie what you fail to acknowledge is that more people did go see Avatar thus propelling the movie to its #1 slot. You hated it. We get that. Still it doesn't change the fact that it was the #1 movie in 2009 in ticket sales and soon to be the #1 of all time.

RE: pointless comparison
By jmke on 1/25/2010 1:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
It would be better if they compared actual quantity of ticket sales

yes, because over time the population on earth doesn't increase at all!

RE: pointless comparison
By porkpie on 1/25/2010 1:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
Well you could adjust total sales not only for inflation, but also for population growth as well. But then to be fair, you'd really need to adjust for the much larger number of movies being made per year nowadays -- after all, is it really fair to compare sales between a film released in a year in which it had to compete with 30 other MMPs, vs one in a year in which 60 MMPs were made?

But by this point, you've pretty much figured out that an exact apples-to-apples comparison of sales between films made more than 10 years apart is pretty much you just keep your mouth shut.

RE: pointless comparison
By Oregonian2 on 1/25/2010 6:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
One would also need to accommodate the financial status of each country over time as well as whether there is a recession (more impressive in a recession than in booming times). Also if a country is at war and needs something to rally around, that film should be discounted because it's being favored by influences outside of the film's quality. Perhaps also there should be corrections for other films running at the same time. Ones with weak competition are 'cheating'. Etc.

RE: pointless comparison
By bravacentauri83 on 1/25/2010 1:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
What are the current totals for ticket sales for Avatar vs Titanic?

RE: pointless comparison
By monomer on 1/25/2010 5:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
Avatar vs. Titanic sounds like a fricken awesome idea for a movie.

RE: pointless comparison
By MonkeyPaw on 1/25/2010 2:41:48 PM , Rating: 2
With movie ticket prices ever increasing, plus the additional hike for 3d viewing, comparing money earned is useless. It would be better if they compared actual quantity of ticket sales, not a summation of ticket prices.

Yeah, it's like when they throw out the cost of natural disasters as a measure of its significance. It says little of the intensity of the disaster and more about what it hit. An F5 tornado in an open field is far more powerful than an F2 that hits a suburb, but which one do you think will be more expensive and more reported on the news?

RE: pointless comparison
By callmeroy on 1/25/2010 2:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think your point is completely invalid -- naturally as time goes on certain movies will appear to sell more because the price of the tickets go up.

On the other hand unless people stop having kids, population increases over time as well -- so, one might argue (at least over time) number of ticket sales isn't completely accurate either.

Finally --- the success of this movie , has nothing to do with anything except for the visuals. Why folks are shocked at this is mind boggling to me...we live in the age of the almighty electronic gadget and "our" kids are raised on video why are we shocked that a movie that looks like a video game, more or less, strikes a popular chord with audiences.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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