Discounting inflation and fatter 3D ticket prices, it’s now official: “Avatar” is the highest grossing film of all time worldwide.
“Avatar” entered Monday needing only $2 million to eclipse the $1.842 billion mark set by director James Cameron’s previous film, “Titanic,” in 1998. Averaging nearly $4 million a day in week-day performances of late just in North America, the 3D film already broke the record before mid-day on the East Coast.
On Sunday, Fox announced that “Avatar” had reached $1.29 billion in foreign receipts, making it the top international grosser ever. With $551.7 million in domestic ticket sales, the film should also surpass “Titanic’s” $600.8 million North American record by the end of the upcoming weekend.
“Avatar” passed “The Dark Knight” ($533.3 million) for second place on the domestic list this past weekend.
Of course, adjusting for inflation, the revenue picture looks quite a bit different.
According to tracking firm Box Office Mojo, with inflation factored in, “Avatar” ranks only 26th all time in North American gross. The all-time leader on this list is “Gone With the Wind,” which has an adjusted domestic total of $1.48 billion. “Star Wars” is in second place with $1.3 billion.
Also not factored in are “Avatar’s” premium 3D ticket prices, which are, on average, about $3 per unit more than standards 2D admissions.
For its part, distributor Fox should ultimately see about $920 million in profit from "Avatar" before director Cameron gets his cut, according to one film business analyst.