James Cameron Net Worth: How Much Did the Creator of “Titanic” Earn Throughout His Career?
James Francis Cameron CC is a Canadian director. He was born on August 16, 1954. He is best known for making science fiction and epic movies. The Terminator was the first movie he was known for (1984).
He had more success with the movies Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and True Lies (1992). (1994). He also directed Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009). Titanic won him Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Film Editing. With Avatar, which was shot in 3D, he got nominated in the same categories.
James Cameron Early Life
Cameron was born in Ontario, Canada, on August 16, 1954. He has four younger siblings. Cameron's family moved to Brea, California, when he was 17. Cameron went to Fullerton College, a community college in the northern part of Orange County, for a year in 1973, but he dropped out.
Then he worked as a truck driver and a cleaner. He always liked to write, and after seeing Star Wars in 1977, he quit his job to try to get into the movie business.
In 1978, he made his first short film, Xenogenesis, which he wrote, directed, and produced with a friend. This was the start of his career as a director.
He then worked as a production assistant for the 1979 movie Rock and Roll High School and as the art director for the science fiction movie Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). He worked on the special effects for John Carpenter's 1981 movie “Escape from New York,” was the production designer for 1981's “Galaxy of Terror,” and gave advice on Android's design (1982).
James Cameron’s Career
In 1978, James Cameron wrote the script for the movie “Xenogenesis” after reading the book “Screenplay” by British actor Syd Field. The script called for a 10-minute science fiction film on a 35mm reel. He was hired right away by Roger Corman Studios to make tiny models for their low-budget movies.
During this time, he also started working on “Piranha II: The Spawning,” the sequel to “Piranha.” At first, he was in charge of the special effects, and then he was in charge of the whole movie. In 1993, the director got together with Scott Ross and Stan Winston, two experts in special effects, to start a company called “Digital Domain.”
The company is known for making amazing special effects for movies. It is based in California. In 1994 and 1995, the movies “True Lies” with Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Strange Days” with Ralph Fiennes came out. In 1997, the movie “Titanic,” with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, came out.
It cost $200 million to make and is thought to be one of the most successful movies of all time. In 2009, the movie “Avatar” with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver came out in 3D. Cameron wrote, co-produced, and directed the movie, and its technology was a first for movies.
James Cameron's Personal Life
Cameron was born in Canada, but he has lived in the U.S. since 1971. He tried to become an American citizen in 2004, but after George W. Bush was elected president, he took his application back. Five times, Cameron has tied the knot. From 1978 to 1984, he was first married to Sharon Williams.
Cameron married film producer Gale Anne Hurd a year after he split up with Williams. In 1989, they broke up. Then, from 1989 to 1991, he was married to director Kathryn Bigelow. They spent $1.8 million on a home in Beverly Hills soon after getting married. In 2018, Kathryn put this house on the market for $13 million.
Cameron's first daughter, Josephine Archer Cameron, was born in 1993. She was born to the actress Linda Hamilton. Later, in 1997, they got married. But 18 months later, they broke up because there were rumors that Cameron was having an affair with actress Suzy Amis. When they broke up, he had to pay Hamilton a big settlement of $50 million.
James Cameron's Net Worth
Canadian-born director James Cameron has a net worth of $700 million. The Terminator, Aliens, Rambo II, The Abyss, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar were all made by James Cameron. His movies have made more than $1.9 billion in the U.S. alone. His movies have made $6.3 billion around the world.
James has made some very smart business decisions that have led to a few huge financial windfalls over the course of his career. When Titanic went over budget, James famously gave up his $8 million salaries. We'll talk more about this in the next section.
Instead, he took back-end points. Cameron made $650 million when the movie became the most successful movie of all time. James has made at least $350 million from the Avatar franchise so far, thanks to a deal that gives him a share of the profits.
How Much Did the Creator of “Titanic” Earn Throughout His Career?
When Titanic went over budget, James famously gave up his $8 million salaries. We'll talk more about this in the next section. Instead, he took back-end points. When the movie made $650 million, it was the highest-grossing movie of all time up to that point, so Cameron made a lot of money from these points.
Cameron spends time in both California and New Zealand, where he has a home. He is said to have bought 2,500 acres of farmland in New Zealand for $16 million in 2012 and built a ranch on the land.
From 1989 until 2020, James' main home in Los Angeles was in a place called Serra Retreat, which is in the hills above Malibu and has gates. Over time, he put together several pieces of land to make a 4.5-acre compound with several buildings, which are basically two large mansions with 11 bedrooms, two pools, multiple spas, and more.
James put the crazy compound on the market for $25 million in September 2020. Watch this video tour to find out more: One of the two mansions in the video above sold for $8.2 million in June 2021.
A bit more than 700 acres make up a Malibu property that used to belong to Cameron. The property was bought in pieces, starting with 500 acres that were bought for $5.4 million in 1999. In 2007, he put all 700 acres on the market for $25 million.
He didn't find a buyer in the end. In 2014, the land was bought for $12 million by a government group called the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. James also used to own a 65-acre piece of land in Santa Barbara, which he sold in 2005. He bought a 102-acre property in Santa Barbara in 1999 and lives there now.
When foreign markets, DVDs, video games, TV shows, and merchandise are added in, Cameron has made over $7 billion in sales, even without taking inflation into account. Titanic ($2.19 billion) and Avatar ($2.78 billion) are two of the movies he directed that made the most money of all time.
He was also the first person to ever direct a movie with a $100 million budget, with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and with a $200 million budget, with Titanic and Avatar, which cost about $500 million when it finally came out in 2009.
Titanic gave Cameron the most money he ever made. After the movie cost a lot more than expected, he agreed to give up his $8 million directing fees in exchange for a share of the profits at the end. This turned out to be a smart choice, which has made him one of the richest directors ever with over $650 million so far.
He still wants to work in movies, and thanks to Avatar, he will be able to write, produce, and direct some of the biggest movies ever made. Because Avatar was such a huge hit, Cameron made an estimated $260 million in 2010. So far, he has made more than $350 million from Avatar.
Please remember that James Cameron has made at least $1 billion just from Avatar and Titanic.