According to BoxOfficeMojo.com James Cameron’s “Titanic” recently became only the second film in history to surpass $2 billion at the worldwide box office. The Best Picture winning historic romance joined another James Cameron epic in this exclusive club, the sci-fi/action parable “Avatar.” Overall, only 11 movies in history have surpassed the seemingly unthinkable billion dollar box office number.
Here’s a look at the ingredients needed for a billion dollar movie.
A Name Brand Franchise
Of the 11 films to surpass a billion dollars at the box office 8 were part of a brand name franchise. Major movie brand names like Star Wars, Transformers, Batman, Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow and Frodo Baggins have been responsible for more than $10 billion at the worldwide box office; half have which has been earned in just the past 5 years. It’s also interesting to note that each of the eight franchise billionaires was at least the third film in their respective franchise.
Johnny Depp was the driving force behind Disney’s monster “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. In 2006 the appeal of Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow drove “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” to becoming the sixth highest grossing movie of all time. Having Depp as your leading man is not a guarantee of a billion dollars at the box office, “The Rum Diary” and “The Tourist” attest to that, but with 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland” he did become the only leading man with two billion dollar grossing films on his resume.
Big Name Directors
Sure, neither Steven Speilberg or Martin Scorsese have directed a $1 billion grossing film in their illustrious careers while Gore Verbinski and David Yates have, but that doesn’t change the fact that a big name director makes a big difference in creating a $1 billion movie. Of the 11 movies that have crossed the $1 billion mark all but “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” were directed by big name filmmakers including the likes of Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight”), Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”), Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland”), Michael Bay (“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”) and George Lucas (“Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.”).
The King of the World
There is only one director however, who has not one but two movies that crossed the $1 billion mark. In fact, he’s the only director ever to have two films cross $2 billion at the box office. In fact, with “Avatar” and “Titanic,” director James Cameron may have a claim on the title ‘King of the World,’ the box office world at least.