Truly Titanic

How James Cameron broke the blockbuster rules to create an all-time hit

Everett Collection

Avatar (2009) $2.782 Billion Worldwide

Ah, the innocence of 1997. No one outside of Bill Clinton's White House had yet heard of Monica Lewinsky. The Spice Girls were the hot pop act, John Elway was leading the Denver Broncos toward a Super Bowl win, and ER topped the TV ratings with a young star named George Clooney. The big movie hits were Men in Black, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Liar Liar — action films and comedies. Who knew that the world was waiting for a love story on a doomed ship?

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