'Avatar' makes history as the first film to pass $700 million
20th Century Fox had hopes that James Cameron's "Avatar" could be a big success, especially since it reportedly cost anywhere between $300-400 million to produce, but no one associated with the film ever thought it would become the highest grossing film of all time. And yet, even with both the worldwide and U.S. records firmly in its grasp, "Avatar" continues to make history. Saturday, the blockbuster became the first release to hit the $700 million mark domestically when its total reached $702 million.
After an estimated $14 million weekend, "Avatar's" current box office cume now stands $706.9 million. Globally, "Avatar" has reached a staggering $2.481 billion.
Historically, "Avatar" became the second film to join "Titanic" to achieve over $600 million in U.S. ticket sales and $1 billion overseas and worldwide. In the decade plus since "Titanic" only "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "The Dark Knight" grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
In terms of grosses adjusted for ticket price inflation, "Avatar" still has a long way to go. Currently ranked at No. 15, it's the only film from the 21st Century in the top 20, but trails 1939's "Gone with the Wind" ($1.5 billion adjusted) and even "Titanic" at No. 6 ($976 million adjusted).
Where "Avatar" will end up is unclear. $750 million U.S. is not out of the question, but the Oscar contender will lose a majority of its IMAX and 3-D screens when "Alice in Wonderland" opens on Friday.