James Cameron Now Holds A Unique Record

James Cameron is now the only filmmaker with three different movies that have grossed over $1.5 billion.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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Ever since the world learned that Avatar 2 would need to earn at least $1.4 billion to make a profit, critics and audiences alike have been paying close attention to the film’s box office performance. The success or failure of this movie would likely determine whether Cameron’s many planned sequels would ever see the light of day, and everyone was pleasantly surprised to see the movie hit that $1.4 billion mark less than a month after its release. According to The Direct, this means James Cameron now holds a very unique record: he will be the only director in history to have three movies make more than $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

The other two James Cameron movies that helped him achieve this record are Titanic (which went on to earn $2.20 billion worldwide) and the first Avatar movie (which went on to earn $2.92 billion worldwide). While Cameron has been a successful director for decades, there were many who doubted that Avatar 2 would be a successful sequel because the first film came out so long ago and allegedly didn’t have as much cultural impact as other blockbuster movies.

Now the sequel has helped Cameron make one of the biggest achievements of his professional career and solidified the simple fact that the Avatar universe (a wholly original creation of Cameron’s) can compete with things like the Marvel Cinematic Universe in terms of success.

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In fact, the closest competition Cameron has for cinematic success is the Russo Brothers, who directed multiple Marvel movies including Avengers: Infinity War (which earned $2.05 billion worldwide) and Avengers: Endgame (which earned $2.8 billion worldwide). While James Cameron is still the one director that will have three films earn over $1.5 billion globally, the Russos have two such movies under their belt. But since the brothers are done with Marvel for the moment and trying to develop other ideas (like the disappointing The Gray Man on Netflix), we don’t think they will be helming another movie as theatrically successful as Infinity War or Endgame anytime soon. 

There is one particular record that James Cameron still needs to shatter, and that is to become the highest-grossing director of all time. Right now, that honor belongs to acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, whose total movies have earned $10.65 billion to Cameron’s (so far) $7.88 billion. While Spielberg most definitely has the more influential overall body of work, it looks like Cameron’s plan to release numerous sequels beyond Avatar 2 may help him to take the title of highest earner away from Spielberg.

Of course, the very fact that James Cameron is competing with Spielberg for such a record shows how consistently successful he has been in his cinematic output. There are plenty of other directors who have made movies earning more than one billion worldwide, and that list includes big names like Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams, and Joss Whedon (who notably directed the first two Avengers movies), but nobody has been consistently making movies as successful as Cameron. And the fact that Avatar 2 has been so successful despite everything from COVID-19 to crazy seasonal weather shows the demand for more adventures with everyone’s favorite blue-skinned warriors is higher than ever.