'Avatar' tops billion dollars, fastest ever: movie tracker

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The Independent Culture

Hollywood blockbuster "Avatar" surged to a box office haul of more than one billion dollars globally on Sunday, faster than any other movie in history, an industry tracker reported.

"It has made 670 million dollars international, for a total of more than one billion dollars," box office analyst Chad Hartigan of Exhibitor Relations told AFP.

Since the Fox-distributed film - the most expensive ever made at up to 500 million dollars - debuted 17 days ago, it has earned 352 million dollars domestically as of Sunday, according to weekend estimates, assuring its reputation as one of the most impressive box office performers of all time.

"It was the fastest ever to the one-billion-dollar mark," and "'Avatar' is now the third biggest grosser ever," behind "Titanic" and "The Return of the King," the final movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hartigan said.

The film tells the story of a paralyzed war veteran, Jake, who is sent on a mission to the planet Pandora, where he falls in love with a blue humanoid named Neytiri of the alien Na'vi race.

Last weekend, earning 75.6 million dollars from Friday to Sunday, the 3-D science fiction epic helped boost the North American box office to the highest-grossing weekend in movie history.

The Christmas holiday weekend saw movie-goers flock to theaters in droves, sending earnings soaring to nearly 270 million dollars, an all-time record, California-based Exhibitor Relations said.

The figure smashed the previous best weekend mark of 260.3 million dollars set in July 2008, when Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight" opened to huge audiences in Canada and the United States.

"Avatar" is director James Cameron's first film since the 1997 Oscar-winner "Titanic."

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