James Cameron is one of; if not the most famous directors we have in the entertainment industry to date. We have seen his films rocket to the top of box office premiers and break those records on multiple occasions. Some of his more famous works include: The Terminator (1984), Titanic and Avatar. However, film directing, writing and producing are not the only ways that Cameron has “wowed” the viewing public. Cameron has showcased a keen interest in advocacy for the protection of the environment. Creating and producing multiple environmentally focused documentaries.
James Cameron’s Net Worth as of 2019: $700 million
Let’s see how he earned his money.
Early Life: 1954-1971
James Cameron was born on August 16th, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada; a small town near Niagara Falls. As a young child, Cameron was always one to take charge. Since he was the oldest of five siblings, Cameron liked to take lead of the activities that he and his siblings participated in. Cameron states, in an interview with The New Yorker, that “There was always some new thing that absolutely needed to get done, whether it was building a fort or an airplane or launching rockets.” Cameron had a passion to be creative and wanted to use his imagination; however, it wouldn’t be until he was 14 and saw Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey that he wanted to figure out how visual effects were done in film. At the age of 17, when his father was transferred to Southern California for work, Cameron started taking courses at Fullerton Junior College for physics then switching to English; though, he ended up dropping out entirely.
Early Career: 1972-1983
After dropping out from school, Cameron started working blue-collar jobs; eventually, he started working as a truck driver. Though, this couldn’t stop the filmmaker in him. He kept thinking of different screenplays, drawing new set designs and thinking of visual effects. Reinvigorated in 1977 to fulfill his filmmaking dream, by George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Cameron and two of his friends, William Wisher and Randall Frakes, raised enough money to create their own short film titled Xenogenesis. After the production and release of this film, Cameron landed a job as a model maker at Roger Corman Studios in L.A. It was here that the filmmaker came into fruition. Cameron worked on the sets for popular low-budget ‘80s sci-fi films such as: Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), Escape from New York (1981), Android (1981) and Terror (1981).
Major Films: 1984-Present
Cameron’s first major film was The Terminator (1984). Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the autonomous, futuristic murdering machine that was sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor, starred by Linda Hamilton (one of Cameron’s many ex-wives), before she could give birth to John Connor, the leader of the human resistance in the coming Terminator War. As mentioned above, like a majority of Cameron’s films, The Terminator was filmed on a six-million-dollar budget and ended up making eighty million in the box office. Beyond that, the film franchise has created some of the most iconic movie quotes in cinema history, “I’ll be back” and “Hasta la vista, baby” being two examples. Other major films that Cameron has worked on include: Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), Titanic (1997), Avatar (2009) and most recently in February 2019 Cameron co-wrote and produced Alita: Battle Angel. A sci-fi action film, the genre that Cameron works with the most, which is the live-action adaptation of the popular ‘90s Japanese manga series; originally written by Yukito Kishiro. Later this year, November 1st to be exact, the newest addition to the Terminator franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate, is scheduled to release. This is a big event for long-time Terminator fans because it not only features the return of Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, reprising their original roles (the Terminator machine and Sarah Connor), but the return of Cameron as a writer and producer for the franchise.
Beyond his work as a filmmaker, Cameron is also a person who loves the environment, which is generally a focused theme in most of his films; The Abyss and Avatar being two of his films that primarily focus around aspects of nature and how humans can affect the environment around them. Those affects being either positive or negative depends on which of Cameron’s films you watch. Cameron primarily focuses on issues concerning the ocean, due to his love of scuba diving. In 2012, Cameron became the first person to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench while piloting the solo submersible Deepsea Challenger. In 2014, a documentary of this event was released with Cameron acting as a producer for it. One of Cameron’s other environmentalist causes include using “green” technology in his films, telling the Washington Post that for the planned Avatar sequel “We put in a 1 megawatt solar array on the roof of the soundstages where we’re doing the ‘Avatar’ sequels, so we’ll be net energy neutral there.” Cameron has also mentioned ideas of changing how America builds its infrastructure to use less greenhouse gases and how the food industry can relate to climate change, specifically meat and dairy products.
James Cameron is a revolutionary thinker when it comes to creating universes and the small things that happen within them. Most people just view his films for pure enjoyment (which is understandable), but a majority of his film work has a deeper meaning that is not seen within other film work. Cameron wants to break the filming industry with new and polarizing ideas that other filmmakers do not think of. No wonder why his net worth is $700 million.