James Cameron's "Avatar" has sailed past his blockbuster "Titanic" to become No. 1 on the all-time domestic box-office chart.
"Avatar" climbed to $601.1 million domestically Tuesday, putting it a fraction ahead of the $600.8 million haul for "Titanic." With more than $2 billion worldwide, Cameron's sci-fi sensation shattered the global box-office record of $1.84 billion held by "Titanic" last week, The Associated Press reports.
"When some said to us, 'How is it going to feel to knock off 'Titanic'? I think our response was, 'It's about time those guys got knocked off their perch,' " said Cameron's producing partner Jon Landau Tuesday, after "Avatar" tied for the lead at the Academy Awards with nine nominations, including best picture.
"Lightning is not supposed to strike twice. And it has. And it's a pinch-me moment when you sit there and you hear that we're going to break another record. It's beyond anything that we could have imagined," he said.
However, factoring in today's higher admission prices, "Titanic" still has sold more tickets than "Avatar." Adjusted for inflation, classics such as "Gone With the Wind," "Star Wars" and "The Sound of Music" still top the charts for most tickets sold.
Landau said he, Cameron and their collaborators have discussed sequel prospects but that nothing definite has been decided. Just before the release of "Avatar" in December, writer-director Cameron said he had the "broad strokes for two more films." "This is set up to be a potential franchise," Cameron had said in December. "It's not like I've got scripts two and three teed up, ready to go, and I want to start at the end of January. But it's definitely part of the game plan."
"Avatar" still has plenty of box-office life left. It passed $600 million domestically on its 47th day of release. Back in 1998, "Titanic" was at barely half that amount - $311 million - after its 47th day in theaters.