James Cameron is responsible for some of the most iconic films of the last 30 years. Not only is he a master of directing, but he is also a fantastic producer, screenwriter, and editor. And he also has some of Hollywood’s highest grossing films on his resume.
With 2009’s Avatar and 1997’s Titanic in spots #1 and #3, James Cameron’s net worth has continued to grow steady over his career as he has become one of Hollywood’s most bankable filmmakers.
So how has Cameron’s net worth evolved over the years? Let’s take a look at his full career and see when success first appeared.
James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954, in the province of Ontario, Canada. He was the oldest of five siblings. And thanks to his father, Philip, he also has a bit of Scottish heritage. Philip was an electrical engineer. And his mother, Shirley, was a nurse and an artist.
When Cameron was 17 years old, his family moved to Brea, California. He first attended Sonora High School then transferred to Brea Olinda High School. After graduation, he attended Fullerton College to major in physics. He switched to a major in English but eventually dropped out.
Cameron never went back to school – and instead, spent a lot of time writing. He studied at the library about film technology, specifically with regards to special effects. And at the time, he was working as a truck driver and janitor in order to make money. When he saw Star Wars in 1977, all bets were off. He decided he would pursue a career in film. And the rest is, well, history.
The Canadian filmmaker may be one of the most successful filmmakers of our time. However, it took time and patience for Cameron’s career to truly take off.
In 1978, Cameron wrote, directed and produced Xenogenesis, his first short film. He was working on other films at the time, and got his start as a production assistant. He would work his way up to being an art director and then production designer.
It was in 1982, Cameron began writing the script for The Terminator. He tried selling the script, specifically so he could direct the film. Understandably, nobody really wanted to take a chance on a new director. However, Gale Anne Hurd of Pacific Western Productions, did take a chance on Cameron. She bought the script for one dollar. The only condition? Cameron had to direct the film.
Surprising everyone in production, The Terminator turned out to be a massive success. It made more than $78 million in international ticket sales. And it started the steady increase of James Cameron’s net worth and on-going success.
Following the success of The Terminator, Cameron got to work on a number of other large-scale projects. Aliens in 1986 received 7 Oscar nominations and won 2 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Editing. In 1989, The Abyss won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects and received 4 other nominations as well.
Cameron was already incredibly successful by the time Titanic was released in 1997. One of his most recent projects at the time, the action comedy film, True Lies, had just won him won a Saturn Award for Best Director.
Titanic ended up with 14 nominations at the 1998 Academy Awards. And, at the time, it was the most nominations any movie had received, beating out fellow record holder All about Eve from the 1950s. Titanic ended up winning 11 of the 14 awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Cameron also earned a sizable paycheck from Titanic but not in the traditional way. In fact, he gave up his directing salary of $8 million when production went over budget. He traded it in for back-end profits, which proved to be a lucrative move. To date, he has earned more than $650 million from Titanic, which has definitely added a hefty amount to James Cameron’s net worth overall.
The last movie that Cameron directed (that was released) was Avatar back in 2009. However, that will change by the end of 2022 with the release of Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to the 2009 film (and the first of 4 additional Avatar films to come. The film is expected to follow in Avatar’s footsteps and potentially break the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office.
James Cameron has been a United States resident for more than 50 years but not officially. He had applied for American citizenship back in 2004. However, when George W. Bush became president, Cameron retracted his application.
Cameron has been to the altar five times. His first wife was Sharon Williams, to whom he was married from 1978 to 1984. He then married Gale Anne Hurd, who was instrumental in the success of his early films. They were married from 1985 to 1989.
Next, the director then fell in love with fellow director Kathryn Bigelow. They were married from 1989 to 1991. Then was actress Linda Hamilton, who starred in The Terminator movies. Before the couple got married, they dated for 6 years and had a daughter in 1993 named Josephine Archer Cameron.
Less than two years after being married, Cameron and Hamilton split. It was because of an alleged affair between Cameron and actress Suzy Amis. Hamilton received $50 million in the settlement. And Cameron eventually married Amis in 2000.
Cameron and Amis are still happily married to this day and have three daughters. The eldest is 19-year-old Claire, followed by 17-year-old Quinn, and 13-year-old Elizabeth Rose.
James Cameron Net Worth Today
To date, Titanic has made $2.19 billion and Avatar has earned a whopping $2.78 billion! Cameron also has three production companies under his belt– Digital Domain, Earthship Productions, and Lightstorm Entertainment.
Taking the above into account along with all he has made from his other films, DVDs, TV shows, video games, etc, James Cameron’s net worth is estimated at around $700 million.