James Cameron's 3-D epic 'Avatar' does not come with a price tag of half-a-billion dollars.

So said Jim Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment , the studio behind the film. Gianopulos told Reuters that an earlier report in the New York Times offering up that budget figure was "ridiculous." James Cameron's 3-D epic 'Avatar' does not come with a price tag of half-a-billion dollars.

So said Jim Gianopulos, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment , the studio behind the film. Gianopulos told Reuters that an earlier report in the New York Times offering up that budget figure was "ridiculous."

According to Gianopulos, the $500 million figure "has actually no relationship to the actual cost of the movie. People keep repeating a number, which was as if you added the cost of building the studio 80 years ago to the cost of 'Avatar.'"

Regardless of whether or not the figure is even remotely accurate, there is always keen interest when Cameron makes an expensive movie. After all, in November 1997, with the premiere of 'Titanic' just weeks away, the entertainment press was bombarded with stories about how the filmmaker was about to break Fox with a film that cost a then-astronomical $200 million.

Of course, 'Titanic' went on to gross more than $1.8 billion worldwide. For his part, Cameron ended up accepting the Oscar for best picture, during which he famously declared himself "king of the world."

This time around he's blending state-of-the-art computer graphics and live-action for 'Avatar,' which opens Dec. 18 and stars Sam Worthington as a disabled former Marine who gets a virtual body on a mission to a far-away planet. Sent to infiltrate the native Na'vi people in order to help mineral-extracting corporations, he ends up fighting on behalf of the alien race.
CATEGORIES Movies