"Avatar" replaces "Titanic" in record books

Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:39pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Titanic" just hit an iceberg named "Avatar."

James Cameron's sci-fi spectacular replaced his maritime melodrama as the biggest international release of all time during the weekend and is on the verge of claiming its worldwide crown, which also includes North American receipts, distributor 20th Century Fox said Sunday.

The News Corp-owned studio said "Avatar" has sold $1.841 billion worth of tickets worldwide during its unbroken six-week reign, and was a day or so away from surpassing the seemingly insurmountable $1.843 billion racked up by "Titanic" in 1997-1998.

The international portion stands at $1.288 billion, eclipsing the $1.242 billion haul of "Titanic."

In North America, "Avatar" may have to wait up to two weeks to sink the $601 million total of "Titanic," Fox said. Moviegoers in the United States and Canada have chipped in $552.8 million, enough to replace 2008's "The Dark Knight" ($533 million) as the second-biggest movie of all time.

Data are not adjusted for inflation, and "Avatar" ticket sales got an additional boost from premium pricing for 3-D screenings. Imax Corp said its big-screen engagements have sold a record $134 million worth of tickets worldwide.

The biggest movie of all time in North America -- adjusted for inflation -- is 1939's "Gone with the Wind," with sales of almost $1.5 billion, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo. "Avatar" ranks No. 26 by that measure.


During the latest weekend, "Avatar" earned $36 million in North America and $107 million from 111 international markets, far outpacing other offerings.   Continued...

<p>Kate Winslet and Leonard DiCaprio in a scene from the 1997 film "Titanic". REUTERS/File</p>