With 'Avatar,' James Cameron Is Once Again King of the World

The 3-D sci-fi epic rakes in $1 billion since Dec. 18 opening.

ByABC News
January 4, 2010, 6:07 PM

Jan. 4, 2010— -- In just two weeks, the new sci-fi movie "Avatar" has taken in an astonishing $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

While there's an enormous amount happening on-screen in the 3-D sci-fi epic, "Avatar" -- the strange, yet attractive, blue aliens, sweeping battle scenes and its unsubtle politics -- there is perhaps an equally compelling off-screen drama: its controversial director James Cameron, who has taken an extravagant risk, at a time when many in Hollywood and throughout the country are retrenching, afraid of taking big financial risks.

Well, Cameron took a risk, alright. He's made a roughly half-billion-dollar movie with no huge stars in 3-D, which most people associate with horror flicks and kids movies.

When ABC News spoke to Cameron a few weeks before "Avatar" was released, Cameron was understandably a little bit defensive about those who said it was too gimmicky to move large audiences, saying, "Everybody's talking about this movie but nobody's seen it. Obviously, we've seen the film, we know that it's quite a heart wrenching experience at times, it's a very emotional film."

Despite all the skepticism, Cameron poured his own money into developing new technology for the movie including three new types of cameras.

"We literally learned how to parachute on the way down. And that's what made it fun for me."