Avatar is a 2009 American science fiction epic film written and directed by James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez and Stephen Lang. The film is set in the year 2154 on Pandora, a moon in the Alpha Centauri star system. Humans are engaged in mining Pandora's reserves of a precious mineral, while the Na'vi—a race of indigenous humanoids—resist the colonists' expansion, which threatens the continued existence of the Na'vi and the Pandoran ecosystem. The film's title refers to the genetically engineered bodies used by the film's characters to interact with the Na'vi.
Avatar had been in development since 1994 by Cameron, who wrote an 80-page scriptment for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Titanic, and the film would have been released in 1999, but according to Cameron, "technology needed to catch up" with his vision of the film. In early 2006, Cameron developed the script, as well as the the language and culture of the Na'vi. He mentioned that sequels are possible if Avatar is successful and in response to the film's success Cameron confirmed that there will be another.
The film was released in traditional 2-D, as well as 3-D and IMAX 3D formats. Avatar is officially budgeted at $237 million; other estimates put the cost at $280–310 million to produce and $150 million for marketing. The film is being touted as a breakthrough in terms of filmmaking technology, for its development of 3D viewing and stereoscopic filmmaking with cameras that were specially designed for the film's production.
Opening to critical acclaim and commercial success, it grossed $27 million on its opening day and $77 million in the United States and Canada on its opening weekend. Worldwide, Avatar grossed $232 million on its opening weekend, the ninth-largest opening-weekend gross of all time, and the largest for a n
on-franchise, non-sequel and original film. After 19 days in worldwide release, it became the fastest film to reach $1 billion in box office receipts and the fifth to gross more than $1 billion worldwide. Within three weeks of its release, the film became the second highest-grossing film of all time worldwide.
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