Avatar is #1 All-Time Box Office Movie

Published 5 years ago by

avatar box office numbers Avatar is #1 All Time Box Office Movie

I bet all those naysayers and doubters about how well Avatar would do at the box office have little to say now. James Cameron’s Avatar has surpassed Titanic as the number one all time grossing film worldwide. A fact that differs widely from the opinion of those who said it couldn’t beat The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Yesterday, Monday January 25th, Avatar hit the $1.843 billion mark, finally passing the director’s other success story about that sinking ship. No one can doubt James Cameron ever again when it comes to what he can do with any property and Fox Studios has smiles all around. I’m waiting for Cameron to come out and say he’s “King of the World” (of Pandora this time?).

While sitting high as the #1 worldwide, Avatar still has a bit to go in terms of domestic gross with a little under $50 million needed at the U.S. box office until it passes Titanic, which sits around the $600 million mark.

Despite this movie being what I would say is one of the biggest word-of-mouth successes for a film for all audiences – especially considering that it’s not based on any book, TV show and not a remake, etc – there are some who question the dollar success due to the nature of the film being a 3D event, meaning higher ticket prices for the 3D glasses and the IMAX experience. Although Avatar hit it big and became the “game changer” it was touted to be for the industry’s push into the 3D genre, no other 3D film has hit anywhere close to Avatar’s success. In fact, no other 3D film has even gotten close to HALF of what Avatar has made, which is very telling.

So far, the film has earned itself a massive fanbase, surprisingly fantastic critical reception and even some major awards including Best Director and Best Drama at the Golden Globes last week. The question going forward, is how well it will do at the Oscars with films like The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds getting some well-deserved attention recently on the award circuit.

There will no doubt be a sequel to Avatar, but the questions of when will it come out, what it will be about, who will be involved and will Cameron again take the reins is still up in the air. I doubt it can make as much as the first Avatar as it won’t be new anymore, nor will the technology employed or the world of Pandora. Perhaps that’s why there’s been hints of exploring other moons or the interior of the lively planet for the planned Avatar trilogy.

As Avatar continues to break records, it will soon break the $2 billion mark, something no one ever dreamed was possible for an original flick based on overly-tall blue aliens in the future.

My only fear is seeing films that shouldn’t be in 3D, getting the basic 3D treatment for the sake of allowing for higher ticket prices (I’m looking at you Clash of the Titans). With more and more studios pushing for their movies to be in 3D, the 3D effect and experience is quickly becoming something not special and something of an annoyance for the gimmicks employed in a lot of these movies and especially the higher ticket costs which I believe will start deterring some moviegoers.

What do you expect of Avatar 2 in terms of story and box office success? And how do you feel about so many movies talking about 3D?

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  1. Watching this movie in your home really takes ALOT away from the experience of seeing it on the big screen-especially a downloaded version. One of the best parts of this film is the visuals and no matter how big your TV is, it isn't going to measure up to IMAX 3-D. It really is something that needs to be experienced with a movie that was made with that experience in mind. I'm sure I will enjoy Avatar when it comes out on Blu-Ray, but it won't have the immersive feeling that I had in the theater. At least at home, though, I can pause it halfway through to go to the bathroom. LOL.

  2. The record will eventually be broken.
    I Would love to see how Avatar would do if it was strictly 2D.
    I suspect that it wouldnt do as well without the boost of 3D ticket sales .
    I would be surprised if Avatars sequels break its records.
    by the time they are released,
    There will have been so many 3D films trying to follow Avatars success that the technology will will seem old hat or at least routine.

  3. Also, when the price of a product (in this case tickets) goes up, the demand for the product goes down. An increase in price produces a decrease in demand (more or less depending on the price elasticity of that product), it is simple microeconomics. In other words, if Avatar's ticket prices were cheaper more people would go to see it.

  4. IMO, Cameron won't be the director of Avatar 2 or 3. He can sell the intellectual rights and make a fortune, without risking a “boom”. I think he is a genius, and as such, he will be more concerned about CREATING new ideas, than exploiting old ones. As you say, we'll see.

  5. “…Which is the point of the movie business, last time I checked.”

    “So, you're saying that you would consider a film to be hugely successful across a wide spectrum if they charged $1 million per ticket and only 600 people chose to buy one?”

    Yes. That would be a success. Ask any Real Estate developer, or make that movie and ask yourself that question.

    “Arguing ticket volume means NOTHING. What is the point of it? What does it prove?”

    “It means a whole heck of a lot more than you are willing to admit; as far as the point of it, I think you know the point it proves: that the film isn't as astronomically popular as its uber-fans are attempting to claim. Especially when held beside other (and often better) films.”

    Ticket volume doesn't mean much with today's volatile prices. Some people are paying over $17 in the USA to watch it in IMAX, some others are paying very little in low-income countries like Venezuela, and some others are paying nothing to watch it because they pirate the movie.

    I guarantee you: at the end of the day more people will watch Avatar than your all-time number one Gone with the wind. Just think about how many more people in foreign markets have access to movie theaters today. The data in a previous post about total volume is misguiding, it only reports USA and Canada volume. Whether you like it or not, those numbers are no longer valid like they were in the 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s.

    Welcome to 2010 and the reality of globalization. Avatar is popular all over the world, not only north of Mexico.

  6. “I just hate seeing the hype that doesn't give all the information behind the statistics behind the final $number. Avatar at an average of $7+ versus Titanic at $4+ a ticket is a no-brainer and fully expected.”

    Right. You hate the “hype” when they don't give you all the information, yet you support your argument of a “no-brainer” based on crappy information like $7 vs $4.

    IMO, it is wrong to minimize the merits of a well-deserving success like Avatar. My father called it envy.

  7. “I guarantee you: at the end of the day more people will watch Avatar than your all-time number one Gone with the wind.”

    I doubt it. Avatar is miles and miles and miles and miles behind GWTW (as well as many other films) on the number of tickets purchased.

  8. “Yes. That would be a success.”

    Not really; it would be called a niche market success, not a widespread one.

  9. And I just don't get all the angst about saying ANYTHING positive about this film. Sorry Vic, but maybe before you start pointing fingers, notice the trend here. Anytime Rob or Kofi, or anyone who liked the movie, tries to say something good about the movie, you and all of these other people jump down their throats about it. In my opinion, THEY are the ones put into the defensive, not the other way around like you're trying to play it as. To me, there's far more angst toward any positive attitude toward this movie than the other way around.

    I enjoyed the movie, but acknowledge that it isn't the best movie of 2009. But to me, it wasn't so horrible that it deserve such fanatical opposition. This reminds me of all of the Microsoft hate even though like 90% of us have some software or hardware from Microsoft, and their product are quality products, but it's just so popular to be on the “hate whatever's on top” bandwagon.

    Please people, go chew out the movies that deserve all of the hate, like Legion, Daybreakers, Ninja Assassin, any of the Saw movies, Brothers, or any of the other crap fests that have come out…

  10. Dude, you've got it backwards. In general here there isn't “fanatical opposition,” quite the opposite – it seems more like fanatical defense. To me the exchanges sound like this:

    Me: “Yeah, it was a cool movie and overall I enjoyed it, great special effects, but…”


    I'm just sayin'.


  11. Really? *I* got it backward? Alright, let's use the nifty “scroll” feature where you can magically see how things unfolded…

    Original article:
    Rob says: Avatar is number 1 all time in box office gross! It made lots of money!

    Oh, it doesn't count, it's number 26 if adjusted for inflation!!
    (very first comment, hmmmm……)

    Rob Counters

    ***SECOND COMMENTER*** (skipping response from original commenter)
    Yah, it's #26, all of these other movies sold so many more tickets!!!

    This same commenter then continues to talk about how ticket volume is more important, then responds AGAIN (3rd comment in a row) criticizing Rob saying Avatar had “surprisingly fantastic critical reception.”

    A@ronW Counters (just to keep count, so far it is 6 comments against Avatar versus 2 fors)

    Enki agrees with A@ronW(6 to 3 now)

    Enki gives a neutral reply to Cyn's anti-Avatar comment (still 6 to 3)

    Another person saying ticket volume is more important (7 to 3)

    ZombieHunter gives a semi-for, but mostly observational (neutral) comment without giving much opinion on the movie itself. (still 7 to 3)

    You jump in with a sarcastic response that's mostly trying to belittle Avatar's achievement.

    Shall I go on? Or do you still think that there isn't a fanatical opposition to the movie? Have you seen anywhere on this site where something positive can be said about Avatar without the same people jumping in to “put things into perspective” since you NEED to “clarify” anything positive said about the movie?? Please point it out to me, because so far, what I've learned is: Never say anything good about Avatar unless you want to have 15 people replying to your comment with “Oh, but how much money it made doesn't matter, ticket sales do! It's just Dances With Wolves with blue people! Dances With Smurfs, haha, I'm so clever!!”

    Even in the Sherlock Holmes vs Avatar article, you got someone AFRAID to admit to liking Avatar, so apparently HE learned his lesson too. So it's not just me…

    So no thanks, I'll just let others make the mistake of stating their opinion if that opinion is a positive one for Avatar.

    As for me, all I'll say is that they invested a lot of money into the project with the gamble that several different factors, including increased prices of tickets, would pay off in the end, and it did, so from a business perspective, good job… That's it, not saying anything good about Avatar, so please, no hate mail… :-P

  12. But Ken, it's just people stating a different perspective. Nothing more. No one is dissing it, just pointing out another fact or angle from another chart out there.

    You shouldn't take it so personal.

  13. After all the Transformer threads you should know by now not to argue/discuss/debate with Fanboys. They get too emotionally attached to things… Just read beneath and you'll see… Lol.

  14. Dances with smurfs, wolves, etc… I don't think anyone even mentioned that and yet you were giving me flack about it for mentioning it once. Dude chill out… You are actually right about it being succesful and all of this but it seems like your having some sort of breakdown there.Wooosah!!!

  15. How am I taking it personal? I'm trying to figure out why you guys take it so personal when something positive is said about it. I actually am not even defending the movie itself. Heck, when someone listed Avatar as their favorite movie of last year, I actually asked him why, but not in a condescending manner like how others diss those who enjoyed the movie. Avatar is like the 3rd worst James Cameron movie in my opinion, but it was horrible, so I'm curious as to the reason behind this fanatical opposition…

    Still hilarious that someone was afraid to admit he enjoyed Avatar over Sherlock Holmes. Doesn't that tell you something?? Lol

  16. ?? I don't know how you read text, but I'm perfectly calm… I don't even like the movie that much, I'm merely pointing out how crazy everyone gets the second anyone says anything positive about the movie. And I'm not sure if you realize this or not, but not every comment I make is about you dude. Just because you're not saying Dancing with Smurfs doesn't mean there isn't a lot of other people who have. I honestly didn't even have you in mind at all dude. I didn't even remember if you were for the movie or not, and most likely in about 25 minutes I'll probably forget again lol. Sorry to burst your bubble. :-P

  17. ?? I don't know how you read text, but I'm perfectly calm… I don't even like the movie that much, I'm merely pointing out how crazy everyone gets the second anyone says anything positive about the movie. And I'm not sure if you realize this or not, but not every comment I make is about you dude. Just because you're not saying Dancing with Smurfs doesn't mean there isn't a lot of other people who have. I honestly didn't even have you in mind at all dude. I didn't even remember if you were for the movie or not, and most likely in about 25 minutes I'll probably forget again lol. Sorry to burst your bubble. :-P

  18. Ken,

    I wasn't talking about this post specifically, I was talking about anywhere it's been brought up over the last month or so. I've seen far more vitriol from the side of those who think it's the best movie ever made than from those who think it's just ok.

    I don't have the time to go dig up the comments I'm referring to, and frankly I don't care enough about this debate to bother. Man, this is getting as bad as the Transformers debates. What. Ever.

    What the hell, did you have too much coffee or something?


  19. And I'm also talking about all other articles as well. Rob and Kofi (? I think, I get people mixed up sometimes) Both liked the movie a lot, and they've posted several articles either in anticipation for the film or as positive reaction to the film or simply as positive reports on the film's box office gross. And it's like everytime they post anything like that, we get the same group of people jumping down their throats about it. At first I didn't really care, I enjoyed the movie, it was entertaining, but obviously not everyone will, but it became so repetitive.

    And yes, this is like the Transformers threads, except it's inverted. Where in Transformers, Screenrant writers wrote negatively about it and fanboys jumped to its defense, for Avatar, when screenrant writers write positively about it, anti-Avatar fanboys (lol, don't know what else to call them…) jumped to downplay or insult the movie… Hm, remember the Avatar vs. Sherlock Holmes thread? How many people immediately jumped down Kofi's throat for supporting Avatar over Sherlock Holmes? Or the Golden Globes coverage, how many people immediately showed outrage over Cameron's win? (Ok, not the best example because I agree it was undeserved, but didn't really feel compelled to jump in and go ape-sh** about it like some others did, lol) But I'm sure in your mind you read more people fanatically supporting Avatar, lol.

    But you're right, no need to argue about it. You're (not “you” specifically, but a figure of speech, applies to all of us) always going to see your opposition as the ones that are being unreasonable. Personally, I have plenty of gripes about Avatar, but I don't want to say them now because I really don't want to relate to these fanatical opposers. I got into a long discussion about the movie with my sister, but seeing someone on the Avatar vs. Sherlock Holmes thread saying “I enjoyed Avatar more, but seeing these other comments, I guess I'm wrong” that really spoke volumes for the climate of the comments on here in my opinion. But I thought that was a bad comparison anyway, Sherlock Holmes was not that good. You guys should have had an Avatar vs Star Trek thread, that would have been crazy, lol. There would have been giant arrows and phaser beams flying back and forth, haha. I definitely enjoyed Star Trek more, but I might play devil's advocate and support Avatar a bit just to help out the minority here, lol. ;-)

  20. Dude, I almost had to leave to go to the restroom about 3/4 of the way through this long ass movie, but luckily was able to hold it in until the end, but I RAN there… lol (unfortunately there was a line, apparently many others were holding it in too…) :'(

  21. lol… burst my bubble, right. I never said that you meant that for me i just said you gave me flack for mentioning it once but you on the otherhand have mentioned it several times before in other threads when no else had even mentioned it yet. Oh and i'm not sure how you think your coming off when you type but you can tell by what Bruce said ” You shouldn't take it so personal” and Vic's ” What the Hell, did you have to much coffee or something?” … that your not coming off as calm as you say and/or think you are.

  22. LOL, I really can care less how I'm PERCEIVED. I'm telling you how I am. I wasn't “angry typing” lol. I'm just stating a point, not trying to “win public opinion” like some people seem to be concerned about. :-P

    Anyway, they're pretty basic and ineffective (at least in my opinion) logical fallacies at work there, part ad hominem and part red herring to try to throw the attention to something other than the actual topic at hand, try to shift focus on a personal remark of the debater when you have no real logical argument against the actual topic at hand. It fools some people, but I can care less what they think. Hm… I might seem antisocial with how little I care about what other people about me, lol, but I am actually very social, I swear! ;-) lol.

    And I honestly don't even remember directing anything at you specifically about the Dances with Smurfs thing, not saying it didn't happen, just don't remember it was you, sorry, nothing personal. I'm surprised you remember it was me with so many other commenters on here, I know *I* can't keep track… And don't even pretend like you haven't heard it said by others like 46 other times, because it's not like I just all of a sudden decided to point it out. I actually thought it was funny at first, but then it stopped being funny and just started being annoying after seeing like a dozen other people saying it like they think it's still funny…

  23. I'm sorry, is that what shows up when you search for “highest grossing movie of all time” didn't think so

  24. Just because a movie makes more money than others like star wars..ET. Jaws..movies that in their day was big money..tickets prices back then were 1.50 – 3.00 dollars..shouldn’t we go by total tickets sold instead of total sales because today prices would be like a 4 to 1 ratio or better..