James Cameron's Avatar overtook his own Titanic, reaching the $1.292 billion mark in worldwide box office grosses on Sunday. The sinking ship story had reigned at $1.242 billion. However, Avatar is still $49 million short of the $600.8 million Cameron's 1997 picture raked in solely in the United States.
Did you know the "King of the World" has an Orange County connection?
The son of an engineer was 17 in 1971 when he moved from his native Ontario, Canada, to the U.S. He enrolled at California State Fullerton, where he did not major in Na'vi but physics.
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Cameron paid his tuition and rent with various blue-collar jobs, and after graduation drove a truck to support his real career ambition: screenwriting.
"Focused on a career in movies, Cameron was able to raise enough money from a consortium of local dentists to produce a 35mm short, Xenogenesis, in 1978," Phillip Williams writes in the winter edition of Moviemaker magazine.
"Iron Jim" parlayed that experience into his first professional gig, as art director, miniature-set builder, and process-projection supervisor on Roger Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).
That led to his directorial debut the following year with Piranha Part Two: The Spawning. He wrote and directed his second feature, The Terminator (1980), and away the Cal State Fullerton Titan went to worldwide box-office dominance.