Finally Avatar Ranks First Overseas

Six weeks were enough for  "Avatar"  to become the biggest-grossing offshore title in movie history.

The James Cameron mega-budget blockbuster rolled up an overseas cume through Sunday of $1.288 billion, exceeding by $46 million "Titanic's" 13-year international boxoffice record of $1.242 billion. The record actually fell Saturday, as predicted.

The latest No. 1 weekend tally was $107 million grossed from 11,800 screens in 111 markets. It was the sixth consecutive weekend that "Avatar" grossed more than $100 million on the foreign circuit.

Among the key territories on the weekend were: France (cume $123.3 million), Germany ($95.7 million), the U.K. ($92.9 million), South Korea ($79.5 million), Japan ($77.7 million), Australia ($77.1 million) and Spain ($76 million). "Avatar" is now the biggest grossing film of all time in China, Spain, Russia, Hong Kong and Chile. It is the biggest Hollywood film ever to play in India.

Still to be broken are "Titanic's" domestic boxoffice record ($600.8 million) and its worldwide cume ($1.843 billion). "Avatar" has grossed $552.8 million in the U.S. and Canada, and $1.8408 billion globally. Given "Avatar's" current boxoffice pace, it should beat "Titanic's" worldwide record early this week.

The latest gross numbers underscore yet again the importance of the foreign circuit playoff to "Avatar's" success. Nearly 70% of the film's worldwide revenues come from overseas. That's about the same as the 67% slice of "Titanic's" worldwide total gross that originated abroad.

Peculiar to "Avatar's" success is the latest wave of exhibition technology. At least 65% of its overseas boxoffice and nearly 80% of its domestic earnings derive from 3D venues, which charge the equivalent of several dollars more than conventional theatrical sites. IMAX locations worldwide playing "Avatar" have rolled up $134 million in 38 days at ticket prices at about $15 each.

Then there is the inflation factor. According to a formula developed by the department of U.S. Labor Statistics, "Titanic's" 1997 worldwide gross is currently worth at least $2.5 billion on an inflation adjusted basis, or $805 million domestic and $1.664 billion foreign.

Still champ is "Gone with the Wind," which grossed $400 million worldwide in 1939, now worth at least $6 trillion in today's dollars.

The Hollywood Reporter has contributed to the report.

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