Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Jan 26
The weekend box office results are in and the winner is in: Again. Yes, it’s AVATAR, an enormously successful science fiction thriller. It has now grossed $1.85 billion worldwide, knocking off TITANIC as the biggest movie moneymaker of all time. It’s seems those funny blue aliens have taken over our wallets: It's certain to become the first film ever to top TWO billion dollars. Which is more than the Gross Domestic Product of a small African nation. (Sorry, Guinea-Bissau!)
Okay…let’s dig a little deeper into these eye-popping figures. First of all, these stats are not adjusted for INFLATION. 1n 2009, the average US movie ticket is around $8.00…more in 3D. In the thirties, people simply didn't pay that much to see GONE WITH THE WIND. In fact, if we do the math, the 1939 classic is STILL the all-time box office champ, way ahead of STAR WARS (#2) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (#3). On the same inflation-adjusted charts, Avatar would end up at #26, just behind GREASE. Impressive, but not exactly the superlative the headline suggests.
What is more interesting about AVATAR is how QUICKLY it made $2 billion. It only took a matter of weeks! It invaded every Cineplex from Alaska to Puerto Rico. In addition to the domestic gross, the movie had huge openings all around the world. These days, most blockbusters have a series of star-studded, red carpet premiers, first in Hollywood, then traveling to London, Paris, Tokyo etc. This drums up local media coverage. (Tom Cruise has a loyal following at Leicester Square these days.) In short, the entire planet has been bombarded with AVATAR.

Finally, it shows just how cleaver director JAMES CAMERON really is. They all laughed when he spent record sums to make Titanic, yet everyone saw that three-hour epic. Will AVATAR also win 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director?

NOTE: (3/10/10): Avatar did not win for Best Picture or Director.

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