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  (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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Adjusted for inflation...
By theinnkeeper on 1/25/2010 4:29:52 PM , Rating: 4
Every time the $$$ come out for this movie I hear people talk about how it's not a fair comparison if inflation isn't taken into account. And that's fair.

Using that logic we need to do some other calculations: What's the ratio of tickets to population in US compared to Gone With the Wind (most ticket sales ever)?

What's the ratio of ticket sales to other movies in theaters while this movie is in theaters? There were a lot less movies out during GWtW run. So it had less competition.

What about factoring in how many options people have to entertain themselves? There are so many more forms of entertainment now than then. Surely that has to be considered as well.

Lastly, you can factor the ratio of cost to make vs. ticket sales. This is important to movie studios.

Also, in 10 years this comment will inflate to a be a really good comment.

RE: Adjusted for inflation...
By whiskerwill on 1/25/2010 4:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
Lol at that last line :)

RE: Adjusted for inflation...
By manofhorn on 1/26/2010 11:04:42 AM , Rating: 2
i think the biggest problem is the fact that tickets are nearly twice as expensive for this movie.

it's not a "$2 billion" mark anymore. it's a "$4 billion" mark. call me when a movie ACTUALLY outdoes a classic in ticket sales.

i do admit it might be harder now for movies theaters to win the public's attendance, but for me that is ONLY because of freaking outrageous ticket prices. for nine dollars i'd rather eat for two days... or run the electricity in my apartment for weeks.

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