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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 17:41 GMT
James Cameron: Blockbuster 'king'
James Cameron
Titanic's 11 Oscars included the best picture and director awards
"I'm king of the world," movie maker James Cameron unforgettably announced at the 1998 Academy Awards as his mega-budget Titanic sailed to a record-equalling 11 Oscars.

In the years that followed, Cameron disappeared from sight almost as completely as the famous ocean liner, although his output in that time included two underwater documentaries and the TV series Dark Angel.

But his announcement of a new documentary that claims to identify the tomb of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and the couple's son, has thrust him back into the limelight.

"It doesn't get bigger than this," Cameron has said about the film, The Lost Tomb of Jesus.

In truth, nothing in the Canadian-born writer and director's future career is likely to match the scale and success of his film of the 1912 Titanic disaster.

The movie is considered one of the most expensive ever made, at an estimated cost of over $200m - more than twice its original budget, and completed several months late.

With critics predicting a flop, Titanic went on to become the highest-grossing movie of all time with worldwide takings of about $1.8bn.

Its 14 Academy Award nominations equalled the record held by All About Eve (1950), while its Oscar wins matched Ben Hur's record haul (also achieved in 2003 by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).

Titanic also made global movie stars of its leads, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

Cult classic

It was a long way from the beginnings of Cameron's career as a crew member for B-movie mogul Roger Corman, and his first directing job on Piranha II: The Spawning (1981).

He made his name with his second movie, 1984's The Terminator, which he wrote and directed.

The breathlessly-paced, ingeniously-plotted picture, starring then virtually unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger as a killer robot, is regarded as a science fiction classic.

CAMERON'S FEATURE FILMS
Avatar (due in 2009)
Titanic (1997)
True Lies (1994)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Abyss (1989)
Aliens (1986)
The Terminator (1984)
Piranha II: The Spawning (1981)
And a box office return several times its relatively modest budget of $6.5m hinted at Cameron's commercial potential.

He sealed his reputation with his next film, a sequel to Ridley Scott's acclaimed 1979 sci-fi horror Alien.

Cameron's Aliens (1986) maintained the original's claustrophobic tension, while ratcheting up the extra-terrestrial threat and offering more all-out action.

The movie was that rare thing - a follow-up the equal of, and arguably even superior to, an acclaimed and successful original film.

It was a major hit in cinemas, and from that point Cameron appeared to have the freedom to pursue the projects of his choice.

'Iron Jim'

His films have frequently pushed the budget limits of their time - 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day is considered the first $100m movie - as well as the boundaries of special effects technology.

Cameron has a reputation as a highly demanding film-maker, which has earned him the nickname Iron Jim.

"People call me a perfectionist, but I'm not," he has reportedly said on the subject.

"I'm a 'rightist' - I do something until it's right, and then I move on to the next thing."

James Cameron explains his 'Jesus tomb' findings
Cameron's latest project has thrust him back into the headlines

Regardless, Hollywood is unlikely to be too particular about the manners of a man behind a number of films grossing $100m-plus.

His big screen comeback, due in 2009, looks set to be a typical Cameron "event" movie.

Avatar will mix live action and computer animation to tell the story of a group of humans battling the population of a distant planet, and is expected to cost $190m.

"We're going to blow you to the back wall of the theatre in a way you haven't seen for a long time," the 52-year-old director has promised.

"My goal is to rekindle those amazing mystical moments my generation felt when we first saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the next generation's Star Wars."

There are few film-makers with the CV to justify such a claim, but Cameron unquestionably has.


SEE ALSO
Jesus tomb found, says film-maker
26 Feb 07 |  Middle East
Cameron to start work on 3D movie
09 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Titanic sinks in worst film poll
05 Nov 03 |  Entertainment



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