Creativity 50 2010: James Cameron

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Only James Cameron could take a 12-year sabbatical after helming the highest-grossing U.S. film of all time and come back with ... the new record-breaker for highest-grossing U.S. film of all time. But unlike "Titanic," which had history and Leonardo DiCaprio on its side, "Avatar" was an original story with a relatively unknown cast (save for Sigourney Weaver and "Star Trek's" Zoe Saldana) and a bloated budget (reported to be as high as $300 million for the three-year production alone). Oh, and also the entire fate of the movie industry's investment in 3-D technology, which was still in the novelty phase before "Avatar" hit theaters. Though the film's familiar storyline garnered criticism for cribbing everything from "Dances With Wolves" to "Fern Gully," it was Cameron's use of technology, the creation of the planet Pandora and the Na'avi tribe that kept movie fans coming back. Those floating jellyfish were worth the price of admission alone. With $700 million (and counting) in domestic grosses, the race is on to see who can top Cameron— including the man himself.

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