When you think of directing in terms of pure box office heft, you think of James Cameron. Despite Avatar: The Way Of Water being only the American auteur’s ninth film, his films have amassed more than $6 billion and he’s twice made the highest-grossing blockbuster of all time. Even Aliens and Terminator 2 both worked Herculean tasks in proving that what were formerly one-off masterpieces could be transformed into generation-spanning pop culture powerhouses.
Cameron’s never been a cynical businessman, though. Rather, he’s always been obsessed with pushing the limits of technology, from reinventing underwater shooting during The Abyss to building multiple Titanics while making Titanic. And his films have always been moralistic fairytales: cautionary, inspiring, or somewhere in between. Ranking Cameron’s films was no easy feat, but it sure was a treat from start to finish.