For nearly 13 years, James Cameron's epic seafaring romance 'Titanic' was far and away the highest grossing movie in the history of American cinema, having pulled in over $600 million at the box office back in 1997. So when that record was finally shattered earlier this year by Cameron's latest triumph, 'Avatar,' it seemed as though that movie's incredible $749 million take would likely last for years to come. Yet now it appears that 'Avatar' is about to face a serious challenge to its box office crown. The culprit?

Why, it's 'Titanic,' of course.

Yes, according to the Los Angeles Times, 'Titanic' is poised to return to the big screen with a twist: Cameron is in the process of converting the movie to 3D with the aim of re-issuing the movie in April, 2012, a release date timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking on April 14, 1912. For nearly 13 years, James Cameron's epic seafaring romance 'Titanic' was far and away the highest grossing movie in the history of American cinema, having pulled in over $600 million at the box office back in 1997. So when that record was finally shattered earlier this year by Cameron's latest triumph, 'Avatar,' it seemed as though that movie's incredible $749 million take would likely last for years to come. Yet now it appears that 'Avatar' is about to face a serious challenge to its box office crown. The culprit?

Why, it's 'Titanic,' of course.

Yes, according to the Los Angeles Times, 'Titanic' is poised to return to the big screen with a twist: Cameron is in the process of converting the movie to 3D with the aim of re-issuing the movie in April, 2012, a release date timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking on April 14, 1912.

The decision shouldn't come as a surprise considering the success of 'Avatar,' particularly its spectacular box office take, has been attributed in part due to the revolutionary use of 3D which, incidentally, also allowed theaters to tack on a 3D premium to tickets which in some cases boosted the price of admission as high as $18.50. That, in turn, significantly inflated returns for the movie (some estimate as many as 75% of the total tickets sold were to 3D screenings), a fact that should help 'Titanic' in its quest to retake its box office crown.

The two years Cameron has to work on the 3D transfer should also help matters; recent films such as 'Clash of the Titans' and 'The Last Airbender' have been widely criticized for trying to cash in on the 3D craze by utilizing subpar and shoddy 3D transfers to convert 2D films into three dimensions. If anyone can devise better technology to accomplish the transfer, however, it's likely Cameron, who spent years developing the groundbreaking effects for 'Avatar.'

It should be noted that when adjusted for inflation, 'Titanic' still tops 'Avatar' thanks to more tickets sold, to the tune of $1.02 billion in today's dollars. That's still a far cry from the all-time leader, however: 1939's 'Gone With the Wind' still holds that mark with what would be the equivalent of $1.6 billion today.

Just another goal for Cameron to shoot for.

CATEGORIES Movies