Friday, 29 January 2010

Avatar is “the highest earning film of all-time”? Really? [updated]

“It's official: Avatar is highest earning film of all-time.” Really? Well, no, it isn’t. Not by a long chalk. Despite all the breathless reporting around the place about what amounts to a lame melodrama with some extra-special special effects, the breathless reporting about box office “victory” is neither “official,” nor correct.  John Drinnan in the Business Herald does the fact-checking other so-called journos should have:

    “Movie box office websites have been charting the box office triumph of James Cameron's Avatar, saying it is closing in on Titanic as the highest-grossing movie of all time.
    “It is tempting to think that movies are becoming more and more popular, but the fact is that the box office figures reflect sales revenue, not the number of people who are attending.
    “And sales revenue does not take account of increases in ticket prices. This is relevant for Avatar, which is in 3D with consequently higher ticket prices.”

Still and all, it did get people to shell out that extra sum to put their bums on theatre-owners’ seats.  Nonetheless . . .

GoneWithTheWind     “A list of United States box office takings showed Avatar with a gross of US$558.2 million. When [price] inflation is taken into account, this makes it only the 26th biggest earner.
    “According to the Box Office Mojo report, adjusted for inflation the biggest movie is [still] 1939's Gone With the Wind. It has taken US$198.7 million - which translates to US$1.51 billion today. In second place is Star Wars, which took US$461 million adjusted to US$1.33 billion.
    “Gone With the Wind is also in the top spot for attendance, with 206.4 million tickets sold, 9.4 million more than for second-place holder Star Wars.
    “That brings Avatar down to earth with 60.3 million ticket sales, putting it 53rd behind the 1955 movie Lady and the Tramp.”



  1. A podcaster friend of mine summed it up thus:

    "Avatar proves it is possible to be impressed and insulted at the same time."

    For myself, I ignored the haters, I ignored the (awful) plot, and I was seriously impressed by the film as an application of technology. Man innovating to bring forth a change in the way films are experienced. A "Star Wars" moment. I was impressed. Ignore the plot, enjoy the "wow" factor, and realise "men did this". Even if one of the men in particular was a pathetic hippy who would make the Green Party look like a bunch of industrialist capitalist pigs. :)

  2. When highly evolved and harmonious indigenous blue hippies find themselves in the crapper they have only one place to turn ... a corporal in the US Marines.


    As Homer Simpson almost said, ‘homo sapiens, the cause of, and solution to, all of our problems.’

    Subject to a few minor changes (unobtanium for gold, tree of souls for grandmother willow, etc) the storyline is a rip on Pocahontas. Thought the application of the 3D took the potential for the technology to another level. More akin to ‘looking out the window’, as opposed to ‘wow, that came right for me, dude!’ 3D will get better but Avatar will be the moment when the expectation changed the industry.

    A visual concorde moment.

  3. Sounds like it's a fast food moment.

    Eat it,

    feel curiously empty and unsatisfied,

    excrete the liquified remains,

    hope that nothing of it remained within you turning to ripples of fat.

    Oh well. Guess I'll save the money and buy a house.


  4. A great Avatar slamming review, simply on its 'filmic' merits (not). I particularly love the closing bullet point summary:


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