At first glance it appears to have the makings of a low-budget sci-fi flick rather than of a box-office blockbuster.
But Avatar, a film about a mythical planet inhabited by huge blue aliens, is set to become one of the the most successful movies of all time.
In less than two weeks, the 3D film has grossed $745m (€520m) and is expected to be the most successful of 2009-10, overtaking even the latest Harry Potter film.
And on New Year's Eve it was given a presidential seal of approval when the Obamas watched the film at a shopping mall in Hawaii.
Should it continue its money-making progress at its current rate, the film could become just the fifth in history to gross more than $1bn.
The biggest money-spinner of all time is Titanic, which made $1.8bn.
Breaking the $1bn barrier would be a particularly remarkable achievement for James Cameron, Avatar's director, seeing as he also directed Titanic.
He would be the first director to gross $1bn twice.
The film's success is, according to industry experts, a payout on the huge gamble taken by 20th Century Fox.