"Avatar" completed the trifecta Tuesday, breaking the all-time domestic box-office record set by "Titanic" in 1998 with $601.1 milliion in North American ticket sales through Tuesday.
The Fox-distributed, James Cameron-directed 3D film has grossed over $2 billion worldwide, and has already broken "Titanic’s" foreign and global box office records.
Of course, adjusting for inflation and premium 3D ticket prices, comparing "Avatar" to a movie that was released a dozen years ago is, in some respects, apples to oranges. On Box Office Mojo’s inflation-adjusted chart, for example, "Avatar" still doesn’t crack the top 20, ranking 21st just behind Disney’s "Fantasia" ($619.5 million in adjusted domestic gross). No. 1 on that list is "Gone with the Wind" ($1.5 million).
Still, "Avatar" is a box-office phenomenon just the same.
Currently released in 3,074 theaters, "Avatar" will continue to occupy the lion’s share of 3D screens until Disney’s Tim Burton-directed "Alice in Wonderland" hits theaters March 5.
Meanwhile, with the film garnering nine Oscar nominations Tuesday, it’s likely to keep on filling theaters. Released in the same mid-December part of the calander that "Avatar" was back in 1997, "Titanic" actually grew its audience weeks later when Academy Award nominations and winners were announced (the film won Best Picture, among other trophies).
It’s estimated that "Avatar" will eventually surpass the $2.5 million mark in global ticket sales, while providing Fox a profit of nearly $1 billion, before Cameron is paid his cut.