James Cameron is a film director who was born in Canada. 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 salary. 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.
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).
Cameron’s career took off when he was hired to direct The Terminator in 1984. He sold the rights to his story idea to producer Gale Anne Hurd for just $1 because he wanted the movie to be made but didn’t want to give up his vision.
In exchange, Hurd agreed to let Cameron take charge of making the movie. There were clear pros and cons to selling his idea. On the plus side, the first Terminator, which was directed by Cameron and cost $7 million to make, made $78 million.
A few decades later, the United States National Film Registry would also choose to keep it around. On the other hand, Cameron lost the right to make more Terminator movies, merchandise, and other things.
Cameron would later have to watch his baby in movies like Terminator: Genisys which were not very good. But James got back the rights to the franchise in 2019 because of a deal he made up in 1984.
The other good thing about Terminator was that it gave people the chance to make and direct more franchises. Aliens, which came out in 1986, was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won two: Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects. The Abyss, which came out in 1989, was nominated for four Academy Awards and won Best Visual Effects.
And Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which came out in 1991, won four Academy Awards for Best Makeup, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Visual Effects.
Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009) were James Cameron’s most successful movies (2009). At the 1998 Academy Awards, the well-reviewed movie Titanic tied for the most nominations with All About Eve, which was made in 1950. Also, read about Dwyane Wade Net Worth
Titanic is also Cameron’s second movie to be kept in the National Film Registry of the United States. Avatar, the hit 3D movie from 2009, was nominated for nine Oscars and won three (for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects.)
Cameron has also helped start three production companies over the course of his career: Lightstorm Entertainment, Digital Domain, and Earthship Productions.
Time magazine named Cameron one of the 100 most important people in the world in 2010.
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 fee 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. Also, read about Jerome Powell Net Worth
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 split up. Then, from 1989 to 1991, he was married to the director Kathryn Bigelow.
They spent $1.8 million on a home in Beverly Hills not long after they got married. In 2018, Kathryn put this home on the market for $13 million.
Cameron’s first daughter, Josephine Archer Cameron, was born in 1993. She was born to actress Linda Hamilton. Later, they got married in 1997, but they broke up 18 months later because there were rumors that Cameron was having an affair with actress Suzy Amis. When they split up, he had to pay Hamilton a big settlement of $50 million.
Cameron married Amis, his fifth wife, in the year 2000. They have a son and two daughters together.
Cameron has learned a lot about deep-sea exploration over the years. This is because he worked on The Abyss and Titanic, and he has always been interested in shipwrecks. (He has also made a number of documentaries about the subject over the years.)
Cameron became a National Geographic explorer-in-residence in 2011. The next year, he was the first person to dive alone to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean on Earth.
James Cameron Net Worth
James Cameron Net Worth is estimated to be around $700 Million currently. Cameron spends time in both California and New Zealand, where he has homes.
He reportedly 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 a house in Serra Retreat, a gated community in the hills above Malibu. 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 a total of 11 bedrooms, two pools, multiple spas, and more.
James put the insane compound on the market for $25 million in September 2020. One of the two mansions in the video above sold for $8.2 million in June of 2021.
A Malibu property that used to belong to Cameron is a little bit bigger than 700 acres. The property was bought in several pieces, starting with 500 acres for $5.4 million in 1999. In 2007, he put all 700 acres up for sale for $25 million.
He did not find a buyer in the end. In 2014, the land was bought for $12 million by a government organization called the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
James also used to own a 65-acre property in Santa Barbara, but he sold it in 2005. He bought a 102-acre property in Santa Barbara in 1999 and now owns it.