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I mean, the other blockbusters alongside Avatar as top-grosser movies are simplified versions of simple comic-book stories, the nonsensical Star Wars sequel trilogy, a couple of kids' movies, one of them a remake, etc. so yeah.

Not sure why Avatar is held to a higher standard, especially when most criticism isn't as nearly as applicable as internet hot takes would lead you to believe.



 

 

 

 

 

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Jumpin said:
shikamaru317 said:

Same here. I legit fell asleep in the theater watching the first one, only 1 other movie ever did that to me and I had pulled an all-nighter the night before watching that other movie on a matinee. Avatar 1 was pretty to look at, but the plot was just a lazy rehash of various other movies that came before it, such as FernGully and Dances With Wolves. And 13 years passed between Avatar 1 and Avatar 2, that is a long time. 

Maybe the sequel really is better like some in this thread are saying, but I'm certainly not going to pay $10.75 for a nighttime showing or $9.50 for a matinee to find out, not when it will be on Disney+ and HBO Max by March most likely.

I legit fell asleep reading your post.



haxxiy said:

I mean, the other blockbusters alongside Avatar as top-grosser movies are simplified versions of simple comic-book stories, the nonsensical Star Wars sequel trilogy, a couple of kids' movies, one of them a remake, etc. so yeah.

Not sure why Avatar is held to a higher standard, especially when most criticism isn't as nearly as applicable as internet hot takes would lead you to believe.

Can only speak for myself, but looking at the rest of the top 10 highest grossing movies:

  • I hated the Star Wars sequel trilogy and definitely don't think that The Force Awakens deserved to make $2b at the box office. It made that $2b on the Star Wars name and nostalgia alone, the movie itself was just an underwhelming rehash of A New Hope's plotline that treated Han Solo quite poorly, making him out to be a deadbeat dad who abandoned his family and the galaxy at large when things got tough. The fact that the subsequent movies in the trilogy dropped to $1.3b and $1b shows that many people were underwhelmed by The Force Awakens. The whole trilogy was planned poorly from the start and suffered for it.
  • I personally wouldn't call the 4 MCU movies in the top 10 "simple comic book movies". The 3 Avengers movies weave together multiple storylines of multiple characters very well, combining stunning visuals with entertaining plotlines. No Way Home meanwhile was popular for one simple reason, people knew beforehand that the previous 2 Spider-Mans and villains from the earlier movies would be in it, it was a potent combination of nostalgia for the old and the popularity of the MCU itself. I'm not even that big of a fan of the MCU personally, there are MCU movies and shows I still haven't watched and may never watch, but I still think that Avengers 1, 3, 4 and Spider-Man: No Way Home all deserve their spots on the top 10. 
  • Jurassic World was an underwhelming movie (though not as underwhelming as The Force Awakens above), but much like The Force Awakens above, the reason it did so well is name power, Jurassic Park 1 was insanely popular, the highest grossing movie of all-time as of it's release in 1993 (unadjusted for inflation). It also helped that it had a very strong foreign box office performance, with China alone adding $200m to it's gross. 
  • Titanic is well, not a movie that I was in the target audience for. That movie was marketed at women, not men, and women loved it, dragging their boyfriends and husbands to see it multiple times while it was in theater. When you have the same people paying to watch a movie in theater 2, 3, 4 times during it's box office run, it is going to make money. It does at least seem to be well plotted (though overly long), even if it's not a movie made for my personal tastes.
  • The Lion King line-action remake. Well, this is a movie that is worse in every possible way than the original Lion King animated movie from 1994. It definitely did well simply on the back of name power and nostalgia, the original Lion King was the highest grossing animated movie until Frozen or Shrek 2 surpassed it (don't remember which), with tons more kids watching it via home video, so of course kids who grew up with the original were going to take their own kids to see the remake.

Overall, I agree with you that most of the top 10 highest grossing movies were underwhelming. This is why box office isn't everything, only 1 of my personal top 10 favorite movies of all-time are in the current top 50 movies (unadjusted for inflation). More of my top 10 likely movie into the top 50 highest grossing when adjusted for inflation, since several are older movies that did well at the box office when they released, but there are definitely some movies that I love and have watched 10 or more times that don't even make the top 50 when adjusted for inflation.

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 11 January 2023

Yeah compared to most of the top-grossing films of all time, I'll take Avatar any day.



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Angelus said:
farlaff said:

Classically, being pretty to look at is a big part of what makes cinema, well, cinema. :)

It is an important element, no doubt. But movies very rarely have such overwhelming success based on just that element. Just as an example, Blade Runner 2049 is a visually STUNNING movie, and that movie came and went at the box office like a fart in the wind. And we can hardly pretend that Avatar wins many points outside of it's visual presentation.

I know, right? I guess it's just not too dense entertainment that resonates on many different levels and walks of life. Cameron seems to have a knack for finding those sweet spots. 



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I think what frustrates me the most is that everything has to be a culture war nowadays.

"I liked the new Avatar, therefore I have to shit on Marvel and Star Wars"

Why? Why can't you like all? why can't you be happy for these movies? I don't even care if you LIKE them or not, I just don't know why everything has to be some sort of direct, aggressive competition. I don't see why Avatar doing well means that it's cool to finally get out the 'marvel sucks and theyr'e dying' guns. I especially hate how reductive people are in trying to downplay successes of movies or WHY they made the money they made.

Avatar is a very simple story told very well. It hit every demographic. IT looked pretty, it sounded pretty, it created an absolutely beautiful new world that people wanted to be a part of and gave us tonnes of lore to think about. Plus it was a movie with a message, a villain you love to hate, and engaging characters. It hit you in the feels, it had hints of romance, some of the best action seen up to that point, and it was all made in a truly wonderful package. I get that 'unobtanium' and 'it's dances with smurfycats' are reasons for snobs to dislike it but the reality is that it resonated with a massive audience. It was a true cinematic EVENT.

Avengers Endgame and Infinity War was the culmination of 20 interwoven stories taking place across space and time, effectively (if not accurately) representing the comic book superhero medium with style, panache, action, and dozens upon dozens of characters and plots all culminating in a single place. Again, it hit a bunch of demographics, it was a true cinematic EVENT, and it was well-liked by critics and fans alike.

Star Wars is one of the biggest and most important movie franchises of all time. and while the plot was very similar to A New Hope, it showed that Star Wars was Star Wars again, not whatever the prequels were (I personally liked the prequels but I'm in the minority there.) A simple story told well.

Titanic was based on true events that once again brought together some of the most grandiose of visual spectacle with some teen drama, meaning it was pulling from a bunch of different directions and hitting a bunch of buttons around the world, appealing to every demographic in some way or another.

Jurassic world was the realization of the park envisioned by Jurassic Park. The Lion King was a pretty remake of probably the most beloved animated film ever, which in turn was just Hamlet on the Savannah.

If you look at the highest grossing films of all time, one recurring theme is that almost everything is 'a very simple story told very well'. Be it a remake, a sequel, loosely or directly based on true events, or an adaptation of prior work (Be it comics, plays, or animated movies you loved as a kid). The most complicated story of all of these was Infinity War/Endgame, everything else was simple. a new hope over again. Dances with wolves in space. a remake of the movie that was hamlet with lions. Based on an actual disaster. And the others were sequels, remakes, or based on comics. There's a reason for every one of these movies to have done well, and I'm just sick of people feeling the need to shit on one because another's doing well or pretend any of them don't deserve it or being a pseudo-hipster and hating on the popular thing.

Sorry, it's just foolish as all hell to continually feel the need to turn this into tribalism.

Hate the popular thing all you want. Even if you don't like it, there's a reason it's popular. Not always a good reason, but there's always a reason.

Something you like making money doesn't mean that the thing you like won't get made. Or maybe it will? If that's the case, the solution is to support the things you love. Go to the theater. buy that overpriced popcorn. hire a babysitter. You know what movies get people munching that popcorn and taking the family out? Huge spectacle driven movies that are easy to digest and enjoy, or sequels to movies people love, or something unique, or maybe an adaptation.

the 'popular thing' doesn't suck just because it made more money than you think it deserves. the popular thing is popular for a reason. It's just that simple. Cameron understands this. That's why, by the end of Avatar's run, he might be responsible for the #1, #3, and #4 highest grossing films of all time. Dude knows how to tell a simple story very well, while putting a tonne of care into the spectacle and visuals and emotions. Dude knows how to hit it big, to give people a reason to go to the cinema, and how to make you care with the most basic elements presented by the hand of a master. 



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Runa216 said:

I think what frustrates me the most is that everything has to be a culture war nowadays.

"I liked the new Avatar, therefore I have to shit on Marvel and Star Wars"

Why? Why can't you like all? why can't you be happy for these movies? I don't even care if you LIKE them or not, I just don't know why everything has to be some sort of direct, aggressive competition. I don't see why Avatar doing well means that it's cool to finally get out the 'marvel sucks and theyr'e dying' guns. I especially hate how reductive people are in trying to downplay successes of movies or WHY they made the money they made.

Avatar is a very simple story told very well. It hit every demographic. IT looked pretty, it sounded pretty, it created an absolutely beautiful new world that people wanted to be a part of and gave us tonnes of lore to think about. Plus it was a movie with a message, a villain you love to hate, and engaging characters. It hit you in the feels, it had hints of romance, some of the best action seen up to that point, and it was all made in a truly wonderful package. I get that 'unobtanium' and 'it's dances with smurfycats' are reasons for snobs to dislike it but the reality is that it resonated with a massive audience. It was a true cinematic EVENT.

Avengers Endgame and Infinity War was the culmination of 20 interwoven stories taking place across space and time, effectively (if not accurately) representing the comic book superhero medium with style, panache, action, and dozens upon dozens of characters and plots all culminating in a single place. Again, it hit a bunch of demographics, it was a true cinematic EVENT, and it was well-liked by critics and fans alike.

Star Wars is one of the biggest and most important movie franchises of all time. and while the plot was very similar to A New Hope, it showed that Star Wars was Star Wars again, not whatever the prequels were (I personally liked the prequels but I'm in the minority there.) A simple story told well.

Titanic was based on true events that once again brought together some of the most grandiose of visual spectacle with some teen drama, meaning it was pulling from a bunch of different directions and hitting a bunch of buttons around the world, appealing to every demographic in some way or another.

Jurassic world was the realization of the park envisioned by Jurassic Park. The Lion King was a pretty remake of probably the most beloved animated film ever, which in turn was just Hamlet on the Savannah.

If you look at the highest grossing films of all time, one recurring theme is that almost everything is 'a very simple story told very well'. Be it a remake, a sequel, loosely or directly based on true events, or an adaptation of prior work (Be it comics, plays, or animated movies you loved as a kid). The most complicated story of all of these was Infinity War/Endgame, everything else was simple. a new hope over again. Dances with wolves in space. a remake of the movie that was hamlet with lions. Based on an actual disaster. And the others were sequels, remakes, or based on comics. There's a reason for every one of these movies to have done well, and I'm just sick of people feeling the need to shit on one because another's doing well or pretend any of them don't deserve it or being a pseudo-hipster and hating on the popular thing.

Sorry, it's just foolish as all hell to continually feel the need to turn this into tribalism.

Hate the popular thing all you want. Even if you don't like it, there's a reason it's popular. Not always a good reason, but there's always a reason.

Something you like making money doesn't mean that the thing you like won't get made. Or maybe it will? If that's the case, the solution is to support the things you love. Go to the theater. buy that overpriced popcorn. hire a babysitter. You know what movies get people munching that popcorn and taking the family out? Huge spectacle driven movies that are easy to digest and enjoy, or sequels to movies people love, or something unique, or maybe an adaptation.

the 'popular thing' doesn't suck just because it made more money than you think it deserves. the popular thing is popular for a reason. It's just that simple. Cameron understands this. That's why, by the end of Avatar's run, he might be responsible for the #1, #3, and #4 highest grossing films of all time. Dude knows how to tell a simple story very well, while putting a tonne of care into the spectacle and visuals and emotions. Dude knows how to hit it big, to give people a reason to go to the cinema, and how to make you care with the most basic elements presented by the hand of a master. 

Yeah, I see where you are coming from. If I were forced or coerced to try and give just one cause for that (and those can be hundreds, if not thousands, of different reasons), I'd go with the general "you have to be competitive to be successful" or "the world runs on conflicts" that marks US generated media in general, the ones that do not favor more collaborative thinking that is usually what drives actual success stories in real life. People need to bring the competition and the conflict for the most ridiculous of situations in order to feel "connected" to this type of thinking. Taking Avatar 2 as a personal example, I absolutely freaking hate that you have to have conflict for the action to happen. On the other side, I was mesmerized by the imagery and all the water, so that one hour in the middle of the movie was way worth the price of admission for me. And then the final hour is all war again. I cannot tell you how tired I am of that. I would go see it again 10 times (I'm not kidding) to see exploration and peaceful contact with the water like Cameron did in the middle section of AWoW. But would the movie be this successful without the stupid war that drives the plot? I'm absolutely sure it would not, which is a shame.



Saw this a few days ago. Thought it was pretty good but damn it was long.



Runa216 said:

Star Wars is one of the biggest and most important movie franchises of all time. and while the plot was very similar to A New Hope, it showed that Star Wars was Star Wars again, not whatever the prequels were (I personally liked the prequels but I'm in the minority there.) A simple story told well.

I'm not sure it's still that much of an unpopular opinion to dislike the prequels, the sequel trilogy sucked so much that it brought the entire Star Wars fanbase together in hatred for it, and now people are 'allowed' to like the prequels. I know I haven't seen much, if any, prequel hate in the past 5 years or so.

That said, I understand why The Force Awakens made all that money. It read the room. There was a massive feeling at the time that the prequels weren't "real Star Wars", and people had been wanting "real Star Wars" for nearly three decades. Force Awakens gave people that, and knew how to deliver the hype. At the time of its release, I got totally carried by the hype train too, I loved the movie. But in the years since, even before any of the sequels came out, I came to realize how hollow it was, and then the rest of the trilogy spoke for itself.

farlaff said:
Runa216 said:

the 'popular thing' doesn't suck just because it made more money than you think it deserves. the popular thing is popular for a reason. It's just that simple. Cameron understands this. That's why, by the end of Avatar's run, he might be responsible for the #1, #3, and #4 highest grossing films of all time. Dude knows how to tell a simple story very well, while putting a tonne of care into the spectacle and visuals and emotions. Dude knows how to hit it big, to give people a reason to go to the cinema, and how to make you care with the most basic elements presented by the hand of a master. 

Yeah, I see where you are coming from. If I were forced or coerced to try and give just one cause for that (and those can be hundreds, if not thousands, of different reasons), I'd go with the general "you have to be competitive to be successful" or "the world runs on conflicts" that marks US generated media in general, the ones that do not favor more collaborative thinking that is usually what drives actual success stories in real life. People need to bring the competition and the conflict for the most ridiculous of situations in order to feel "connected" to this type of thinking. Taking Avatar 2 as a personal example, I absolutely freaking hate that you have to have conflict for the action to happen. On the other side, I was mesmerized by the imagery and all the water, so that one hour in the middle of the movie was way worth the price of admission for me. And then the final hour is all war again. I cannot tell you how tired I am of that. I would go see it again 10 times (I'm not kidding) to see exploration and peaceful contact with the water like Cameron did in the middle section of AWoW. But would the movie be this successful without the stupid war that drives the plot? I'm absolutely sure it would not, which is a shame.

I was in the "Avatar was just a forgettable pretty movie" camp, didn't care at all for the idea of a sequel, I thought it'd bomb at the box office but I realized I was wrong when my mom came asking me if I wanted to go watch it with her. To which I declined, but she insisted for weeks, further driving home how wrong I was about the movie's appeal. Until I went.

Maybe it's because I was negative going into it, but the first hour of the movie bored me a lot. I didn't think I could care, but then yeah, when they get going with all the stuff that happens on the water, it's kinda impossible not to get behind it. I agree with you that it didn't need the conflict it has, especially when apparently the villain was already dead before (don't really remember the details around that), but even if it could've been taken a different direction, I thought the warfare at the end was an exciting climax and very well done. Which really shouldn't be surprising, it's James Cameron after all. He has a knack for thrilling third acts, actually it amazes me how consistent he is, no James Cameron movie I've seen was ever a masterpiece or anything, but they're all great entertainment. Anything he makes is basically a guaranteed 7 or 8 out of 10. And over three hours of Avatar, of which I really could've done without the first one, he convinced me to enjoy it.




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Way of Water overtakes Spiderman No Way Home, moving up to #6 biggest box office haul of all time:
https://www.boxofficemojo.com/chart/ww_top_lifetime_gross/?area=XWW



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