James Cameron personally earned $350 million from the theatrical release of Avatar, the biggest financial gain by a director from a single film in history, reports Deadline.

The figure is staggering, but not once you consider the movie has made $2.7 billion for Fox since its December 2009 release, the highest grossing movie of all time. The studio is even planning a “Special Edition” re-release on August 27 for those who might have missed it the first time around that contains an additional eight minutes of footage.

Cameron is also hatching plans for a sequel that could potentially dive into the depths of Pandora’s ocean, which comes as no surprise from the aquatic enthusiast who made The Abyss his love letter to the sea. It’s also no secret the visionary filmmaker considers the original adventure as part of a possible trilogy that could expand into space and the interstellar territory of his own Aliens. The massive total was also helped by record-breaking sales of the DVD and Blu-ray, a stripped down version released in April. He’ll pad his fortune come November when the new discs hit with special features and those precious eight minutes of Na’vi lovemaking (or whatever the extra footage winds up being).

His personal gain far surpasses the $97 million he took home from Titanic, once the biggest blockbuster ever. But Cameron stands to add a few more dollars since he’s spearheading a 3D re-release of that film as well, scheduled for sometime in 2012. Cameron ranked second on Forbes list of celebrities (behind Oprah) and now sits at third for lifetime domestic grosses (behind Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis). That’s with 9 films to Spielberg’s 24, mind you.

Finke’s article also mentions the Fusion Camera System he created, which helped revolutionize the way stereoscopic film is captured and rendered into eye-popping 3D. Once Hollywood stops slapping a third-dimension on their clunkers on the cheap (read: The Last Airbender), Cameron will make a fortune off the cutting-edge technology alone, just as George Lucas did after Star Wars.


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