Page last updated at 16:39 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Avatar overtakes Titanic as top-grossing film ever

Avatar blue aliens
Avatar won the Golden Globe awards for best drama and best director

Sci-fi spectacular Avatar has surpassed Titanic to become the highest grossing movie of all time, figures from distributor 20th Century Fox show.

Avatar's worldwide takings in just six weeks stand at $1.859bn (£1.15bn), versus Titanic's $1.843bn (£1.14bn).

The figures are not adjusted for inflation or the higher cost of Avatar's 3D film tickets.

Director James Cameron holds the remarkable distinction of directing both the world's top grossing movies.

Titanic, which starred Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, set a new box office record during its release in 1997-1998.

It also won Cameron an Oscar for best director.

The biggest movie of all time in North America - adjusted for inflation - continues to be Gone with the Wind in 1939.

The movie, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, took ticket sales of almost $1.5 billion (£929m), according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

If the same rules are applied to Avatar, then the movie actually ranks at number 26.

Avatar - Cameron's latest epic - won two Golden Globes last week, and is expected to garner an Oscar nomination next month.

What is the secret of Avatar's success?

Earlier this month, it became the fastest movie ever to achieve $1bn (£619m) in ticket sales around the world, and took over second place from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

It has proved a worldwide sensation, dominating the box office from North America to China and Russia.

The science-fiction adventure, about a disabled marine who infiltrates a race of giant blue aliens, mixes live action with digitally-created performances.

It was reportedly the most expensive film ever made, with a budget of at least $300m (£185m).



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