Avatar¬†(marketed as¬†James Cameron Avatar) is a 2009 American epic¬†science fiction film¬†directed, written, produced, and co-edited by¬†James Cameron¬†and starring¬†Sam Worthington,¬†Zoe Saldana,¬†Stephen Lang,¬†Michelle Rodriguez, and¬†Sigourney Weaver. The film is set in the mid-22nd century when humans are colonizing¬†Pandora, a lush¬†habitable moon¬†of a¬†gas giant¬†in the¬†Alpha Centauri¬†star system, in order to mine the valuable mineral¬†unobtanium. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of¬†Na’vi¬†‚Äď a¬†humanoid¬†species indigenous to Pandora. The film’s title refers to a¬†genetically engineered¬†Na’vi body¬†operated from the brain¬†of a remotely located human that is used to¬†interact¬†with the natives of Pandora.

Avatar¬†premiered in London on¬†December 10, 2009, and was released in the United States on¬†December 18¬†to positive reviews, with critics highly praising its ground-breaking visual effects. During its theatrical run, the film broke several box office records and became the¬†highest-grossing film at the time, as well as in the¬†United States and Canada, surpassing Cameron’s¬†Titanic, which had held those records for twelve years. Avatar¬†remained the highest-grossing film worldwide for nearly a decade until it was overtaken by¬†Avengers: Endgame¬†in 2019, before a Chinese re-release saw¬†Avatar¬†retake the top spot in March 2021. Adjusted for inflation, Avatar¬†is the¬†second highest-grossing movie¬†of all time after¬†Gone with the Wind¬†with a total of more than $3 billion.

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