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James Cameron Is Fine With Losing Box Office Crown, but He’s Calling Out Ocean Dive Record

Zack Sharf

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James Cameron had no problem giving up his box office title earlier this year when “Avengers: Endgame” surpassed both “Titanic” and “Avatar” to become the highest grossing movie worldwide (unadjusted for inflation), but the Oscar-winning director isn’t as accepting when it comes to deep sea exploration. Cameron personally requested to speak to The New York Times in order to dispute a claim made by investor Victor Vescovo that alleges Vescovo set the record for deepest ocean descent by a human.

As reported by The Times’ William J. Broad, Vescovo’s team claimed the record in April after traveling in a submersible to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, a depression off the southwest coast of Guam that is considered to be “the planet’s deepest spot.” Vescovo’s team said it traveled down 35,853 feet, which is 52 feet more than the previous record, but noted the measurement could be “revised in the future.” Vescovo said last week his number was actually a bit shallower at 35,840 feet.

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Cameron explored the Challenger Deep himself during a 2012 dive that lasted three hours at the depression’s bottom. When speaking to The Times, Cameron disputed Vescovo by saying, “What he’s done is quite remarkable. Where I take exception is his saying he went deeper. You can’t go deeper. It’s flat and featureless. So his gauge may read differently than mine, but he can’t say he’s gone deeper.”

The “Avatar” filmmaker also took issue with how “something can be part of the public record without substantiation.” Board noted that Cameron spoke with The Times from Wellington, New Zealand, where the filmmaker continues to work on post-production for his next two “Avatar” sequels. Disney has announced “Avatar 2” will open in theaters December 17, 2021, 12 years after the original first hit theaters and broke records.

Vescovo disagreed with Cameron, telling The Times, “I have enormous respect for him. On this point, whoever, I scientifically disagree.” The Times notes that Vescovo said his expedition’s gear was “far newer and more accurate at gauging oceanic depths than Mr. Cameron’s and had identified a deeper area.”

Head over to The New York Times website to read more about Vescovo’s dive and Cameron’s response.

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