This is the season for Hollywood to debut many of the year’s most important movies. Beginning just before the Thanksgiving holiday with the triumphant release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, movie goers will be regaled with such highly anticipated titles as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, On The Road, and Hitchcock, the biography of legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. Each of these potential blockbusters is hoping to challenge the ultimate box office champion, Avatar, which held its world premiere three years ago today on December 10, 2009.
Avatar took the slow and steady route to earn $2,782,275,172 at the box office in the months since its premiere, making it the highest grossing film in the history of motion pictures. Unlike the current record holder for the highest grossing weekend at the box office, creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s The Avengers, which took in an absolutely astounding $207,438,708 for the first weekend, Avatar only earned $77,025,481 during the first three days. Cameron’s science fiction epic is only in 43rd place for all time box office weekends, placing it far behind the recently released Breaking Dawn II, with $141,067,634 for the important premiere weekend.
Directed by James Cameron, Avatar surpassed Titanic, also helmed by versatile Mr. Cameron, as the highest grossing film. Avatar left the previous champ in the dust, easily exceeding Titanic’s total of $2,185,372,302. Ironically, Avatar lost the Academy Award for Best Picture to The Hurt Locker, directed by Cameron’s former wife, Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman in history to win the Academy Award for Best Director.
Not only was Avatar the highest earning film in history, but it achieved its remarkable success in an unusually fickle category. Science fiction films are hard to market and typically have a viewing audience that places much higher demands on a film’s story, script, characters, and special effects.
While outstanding CGI and visuals will go along way toward making a film exciting, science fiction fans are notoriously difficult to please and are often the harshest of all critics. James Cameron deserve ultimate praise for level of quality achieved by his epic motion picture.
It won’t matter much if the current challengers go the slow and steady route or a take a rocket ride to the top of the opening weekend list. While they are all terrific movies, it will take months of hard work and many movie goers returning to see their favorite film over and over for any of the new blockbusters to launch a serious challenge to the current box office king. It may be quite some time before any movie is able to come close to the incredible success of Avatar.