erik lundegaard

No. 2 With a Bullet (or an Arrow)

Less than a month after it opened, James Cameron's "Avatar" is already second on the unadjusted worldwide box-office list...to James Cameron's "Titanic." Of course it's got a long way to go to be no. 1: another $700 million or so—or what only 35 films have managed to make worldwide in their entire run.

What's remarkable isn't just the fact that Cameron now has the top two films all-time; it's that almost every other top film is a sequel, or part of a trilogy, or based on an extremely popular series of books. In the top 20, you can count the originals on one hand: Cameron's "Titanic" at no. 1, Cameron's "Avatar" at no. 2, and Pixar's "Finding Nemo" at no. 19. That's it. (I was going to add "Jurassic Park" but then remembered the Crichton novel on which it's based.)

Here, from boxofficemojo, is the current top 20 worldwide list. Unadjusted:

Rank Title Studio Worldwide Dom. /      % Overseas / % Year^
1 Titanic Par. $1,842.9 $600.8 32.6% $1,242.1 67.4% 1997
2 Avatar Fox $1,131.8 $374.4 33.1% $757.3 66.9% 2009
3 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King NL $1,119.1 $377.0 33.7% $742.1 66.3% 2003
4 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest BV $1,066.2 $423.3 39.7% $642.9 60.3% 2006
5 The Dark Knight WB $1,001.9 $533.3 53.2% $468.6 46.8% 2008
6 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone WB $974.7 $317.6 32.6% $657.2 67.4% 2001
7 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End BV $961.0 $309.4 32.2% $651.6 67.8% 2007
8 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix WB $938.2 $292.0 31.1% $646.2 68.9% 2007
9 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince WB $929.4 $302.0 32.5% $627.4 67.5% 2009
10 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers NL $925.3 $341.8 36.9% $583.5 63.1% 2002^
11 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Fox $924.3 $431.1 46.6% $493.2 53.4% 1999
12 Shrek 2 DW $919.8 $441.2 48.0% $478.6 52.0% 2004
13 Jurassic Park Uni. $914.7 $357.1 39.0% $557.6 61.0% 1993
14 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire WB $895.9 $290.0 32.4% $605.9 67.6% 2005
15 Spider-Man 3 Sony $890.9 $336.5 37.8% $554.3 62.2% 2007
16 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Fox $884.4 $196.6 22.2% $687.9 77.8% 2009
17 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets WB $878.6 $262.0 29.8% $616.7 70.2% 2002
18 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring NL $870.8 $314.8 36.1% $556.0 63.9% 2001^
19 Finding Nemo BV $864.6 $339.7 39.3% $524.9 60.7% 2003
20 Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith Fox $848.8 $380.3 44.8% $468.5 55.2% 2005

Will "Avatar" make it to $1.5 billion? More? Variety's Clifford Coonan reports that the Chinese hen hsi hwan the film. In the U.S., meanwhile, with everyone back to school or work after the holidays, the film's weekday totals are dropping off at a 50% rate—but that's still a slower rate than other films in the top 10. We'll see how it does this weekend. There's still buzz about the film. There's backlash, too, but mostly I hear (or read on Facebook) that even if you don't like the chatter, and even if you think the storyline is too "Dances with Wolves," you need to check it out in the theater, because it's AMAZING in the theater. That's nice to hear. Cameron's getting us all back together again. Except for these folks, of course.

My take. Again.


Posted at 02:31 AM on Fri. Jan 08, 2010 in category Movies - Box Office  
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COMMENTS

Uncle Vinny wrote:

The tears of right-wing movie reviewers are so delicious!
Comment posted on Fri. Jan 08, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Mister B wrote:

Still blows me away that the biggest movie of all time had an ending -- or climactic scene toward the end -- which everyone knew was going to happen beforehand.

Makes me think Cameron could make several hundred million dollars directing and writing a movie about the Lincoln Assassination.
Comment posted on Fri. Jan 08, 2010 at 05:57 PM

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