It’s Official, Avatar Now the Box Office Shiz Niz

James Cameron must have a direct line to God or something, because the naysayers (including me) guffawed at the ballooned budget of 1997’s Titanic and predicted it would bomb at the box office. Instead, as we all know, Titanic became the worldwide and domestic box office champ, a record that’s held until today when, ironically, another big budget Cameron epic booted the iceberg-doomed ocean liner from number one to number two. And yes, I will admit, back on December 17, 2010 I didn’t think for a moment Avatar would be the highest grossing ever by February 4, 2010, less than two months since its release.

Now the question is what, if anything, can knock Avatar from it’s perch and will the Oscar success Avatar could see on March 7, 2010 fuel its earnings even further? Dan thought The Book of Eli might give Avatar some competition a few weeks ago, but Eli got kicked to the curb by the Na’vi by more than $10 million. I don’t think From Paris with Love, which Dan will review this Friday, has the chops to take down Avatar, but the Valentine’s Day weekend could see Avatar slip in the rankings, as The Wolfman, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Valentine’s Day hit multiplexes and will suck some audience away from the 12-foot smurfs of Pandora.

At any rate, congratulations to James Cameron and his crew. Avatar is a great movie and it will be fun to see how high it will climb the charts. Again, I’m amazed Titanic has been eclipsed. I always thought it would be untouchable, sort of like John Stockton’s NBA all-time assists record. I wonder how long it will take for another movie to match Avatar’s success. Perhaps the bigger questions is what makes Avatar so special?

16 comments On It’s Official, Avatar Now the Box Office Shiz Niz

  • Still haven’t seen it. I didn’t see Titanic in theaters either. So THERE James Cameron.

  • @Jenny. as if James Cameron cares if you didn’t see either of these 2 movies. I think the jokes on you, you’re missing out on pure cinema magic and entertainment by not watching them in the theater, Avatar more so than Titantic though…

    • I’ve seen Titanic, and I’ll probably get around to seeing Avatar, I just prefer to watch overly long movies in the comfort of my own home theater, which is in focus, unlike every stupid movie theater I’ve been to in this valley.

      • No question about that. Providence 8 and Movies 5 suck the sweat off a dead man’s balls. University 6 is probably the best place to watch a movie, if you can get past the stinky cheese feet smell and the musty Florida-like weather in the theater. Larry Miller’s Megaplex is by far the best place to catch a movie.

      • I agree with you, Jenny. If I were given the choice to watch a film in any of the Westates theaters in the valley or view at home, I’ll take my home, hands down.

        However, you might want to make Avatar the one exception to that since it is a film that MUST be experienced on the big screen. You could do what my wife and I did for years and leave CV for Ogden/SLC to watch films at either the Cinemark or Megaplex theaters. Sometimes we’d go and watch 3 or 4 films in one day.

  • Agreed, Ed – Avatar is an amazing cinematic experience. If Inglourious Basterds, The Hurt Locker or Avatar win best picture, I will be satisfied with what transpired in Movieland in 2009.

  • Im with you on Basterds but Hurt locker is overrated shite.

    Just from a technical point of view Avatar should walk away with it.
    The Hurt locker will long be forgotten while we see the benefits from Avatars tech in films yet to come.

    Sure Hurt locker was riveting but the millions of people who’ve gone back again and again to see the simple yet relatable story that is Avatar speaks volumes.

    While Locker had a small budget Avatar had the largest ever but both films are moving and entertaining different animals but Avatar does more for film than Hurt locker ever will.

  • Danny, Danny. You’re wrong. Wrong, I say! The only thing overrated about Hurt Locker is your expectation going into it.

    And arguing for a film to win Best Picture based on its technical merits is like saying a Pontiac Aztec is sexy because its trunk hid a tent. The Oscars have their own technical awards show before the main event for precisely this reason: so films who push forward the arts sciences get their recognition. Best Picture is an award for the sum of a movie’s whole, not a nod to technical wizardry. Were that the case, the Star Wars prequels– though dated now– would have cleaned up.

    As for the Hurt Locker being forgotten, I’d argue it wouldn’t be forgotten any more than any other Best Picture Winner. It’s a well-constructed snapshot and character study of a pivotal event in time.

    Also, the Oscars aren’t The People’s Choice Awards. While Box Office clout can hold some sway, it’s not a measuring stick for quality. Millions saw Wild Hogs. Millions loved The Proposal. Millions wanted to cuddle up with Kevin James. Audience share isn’t an indicator of win quality.

    As an aside, Inglourious Basterds is a winner for sure, but it’s too light and zany. It’s a decadent strudel when the academy usually votes for dramatic/introspective/powerful meat and potatoes… Shakespeare in Love notwithstanding.

    All that said, I wouldn’t cry if Avatar won Best Picture. But I’d say there are other films that, holistically, are more deserving.

  • I agree with Dan’s comments about The Hurt Locker, but not about Inglourious Basterds. The Academy, if anything, seems unpredictable at best when voting for best picture. But then I suppose, like with all things, that comes down to personal preference. And say what you want about the “sum of the whole,” but when it comes down to it, voters, because of personal tastes and prejudices (both on and offscreen) are going to vote for what they want.

    Look at the last five years:

    2005 – Is Crash really the BEST picture? I’d argue for Brokeback Mountain, but the nod to Crash seemed the safe vote. Personally, I think Crash is hugely overrated.

    2006 – The Departed? Really? It’s a fine movie, but Martin Scoresese should cry because he won for this and not some of his other more memorable films. Babel should have won this year, but again, personal preference.

    2007 – Now this was a stacked year. I think any of the five films could have walked away with the best picture Oscar and people would be happy. No Country For Old Men was a damn good movie, but so was Micahel Clayton, Juno, Atonement and There Will Be Blood.

    2008 – Disappointing year for best picture in my opinion. The Dark Knight and/or Wall-E should have made the list. I’ve seen The Reader and that movie is overrated, as in Slumdog Millionaire. I probably would have voted for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” out of all these movies.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is people’s prejudices come through on nominating and voting no matter if they are a member of the “Academy” or the “Utah Film Critics Association.” We like what we like when it comes to the films that can be placed in the realm of magical, transformational and inspiring.

  • See, Andy. That’s my point: “It’s a decadent strudel when the academy usually votes for dramatic/introspective/powerful meat and potatoes.”

    Crash can be argued against for its win, but it was dramatic, it was introspective and as far as pushing race relations in your face, it had moments of power.

    The Departed is also Oscar bait. It’s dramatic, Scoresese and dark. It’s intensity and vote for “the old man” pushed it over the finish line.

    No Country was, again, introspective, powerful and dramatic. Throw in bleak and it was a year Academy voters cast their ballot on the mood of the country.

    See? Already I’ve forgotten about Slumdog. That sucker won on a wave of goodwill– it was a strudel.

    I agree in the sense that Academy voters vote based on award campaigns, buzz and momentum, that usually pushes the winners over the top, but there’s still merit to the sum of the whole. Most Oscar nominees are in there because they’ve qualified on that alone.

    I can buy the argument that its a four quarter voting block. Sum of Whole/Buzz/Preference and emotional impact of a films message. But, while Inglourious is a great movie and a film at the height of its craft, it’s not winning this year. I guess that was my point, all said.

  • I get your drift, but this definitely could be a neverending discussion and rightfully so. What makes a film great can be debatable and those attributes will affect some and others not so much. Crash was like that for me. Its “power” felt manufactured and forced. I suppose at the end of the day the celebration should be for all the films nominated, as it’s a heartbreaker only one can walk away with the prize.

  • You’re a real peace-maker, Morgan.

  • Well, I like the Oscars and I like movies. I think anyone who likes gold or things that start with the letter “m” would like the Oscars, too. I dare you to not think of a gold, shiny penis next when you think of the Oscars.

  • 1.The Pontiac Aztec is sexy!

    2.Strudel is tastey goodness.

    3.There ya go again with teh brokeback Andy..and now gold penis? Im watchin u son!

    4.Wild Hogs was unappreciated, unaquivocal art!

    5.You guys make good points,i agree for the most part but my camps still for Avatar baby!

  • It just kills me, because I didn’t really think either movie was all that. It just goes to show how fluffy people are. Really all they want is a little fluff and they go weak in the knees. What ever happened to thinking a little at the movies?

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