Face-Off: James Cameron vs. Peter Jackson

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

It was a Willem vs. Woody battle in last week’s Face-Off and after all of you chimed in and the dust settled it was clear that Will Dafoe was the clear winner against the wacky and wonderful Woody Harrelson.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG opens this Friday so we decided to do an all-director Face-Off this week with Kiwi director Peter Jackson facing off versus Canuck director James Cameron. I first thought about putting Peter Jackson up against Lucky Strikes but I think that joke would get old by the third category.

Jimmy Cameron exploded onto the movie screens in the 80s with back-to-back action sci-fi faves THE TERMINATOR and ALIENS and ended the decade with the underrated gem THE ABYSS. Cameron upped the ante in the 90s with three mega-hits in a row: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, TRUE LIES and TITANIC.

After he won a boatload of Oscars for TITANIC and had (at the time) the biggest grossing movie of all-time, he took a decade off and got obsessed with underwater exploration and forgot that he was a movie director. He came back with the movie that is presently the biggest money-maker of all time, AVATAR. I thought AVATAR was a big ol’ bore but there is no denying that everything this guy touches turns to money and usually gets rave reviews. Good for him but my favorite Canadian director is still Norman Jewison.
Pete Jackson’s bread and butter early in his career were comedy/horror flicks such as BAD TASTE, DEAD ALIVE and THE FRIGHTENERS. HEAVENLY CREATURES proved that he’s got more to offer the movie world than just blood, screams and yuk-yuks. The 2000s solidified Peter Jackson into Hollywood history as he dove into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books and directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy to massive critical and financial success worldwide.

He took a couple of years off and then stormed back with his unnecessary remake of KING KONG in 2005. Apparently, he was missing hobbits after he made his ape movie so he signed on to make a hobbit trilogy in this decade. The first installment, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY opened last winter and met with great success.
Oscars, Oscars, Oscars
James Cameron was twice invited to the Academy Awards ceremonies, the first time for his directing skills for TITANIC (for which he won) and the second time for his 3D skills for AVATAR. He lost to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow which spared us a speech where he likely would have shouted about being king of the jungle or some shit.
Peter Jackson was also nominated twice for Oscar gold for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING (for which he won). He wasn’t nominated for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS because the movie just featured a bunch of trees walking for three hours.
Box Office
James Cameron’s films have grossed a total of…wait for it…$1.9 billion domestically and that doesn’t even include the cash PIRANHA 2: THE SPAWNING likely scored as its earnings are not documented. Cameron has the distinction of being the director of the first and second biggest grossing movies of all-time but TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA CHRISTMAS hasn’t been released yet so who knows how long that reign will last.
Peter Jackson has the midas touch as well with a total of $1.6 billion earned in the U.S.A. Usually that kind of coin is more than enough for anyone to win in this category but not this time around. With two more Hobbit movies opening in the next couple of years, this race might get tighter by the end of 2014.
Upcoming projects
The end of this decade will be get crazy busy for Cameron as it’s announced that he will direct BATTLE ANGEL and about 8 more Avatar films. BATTLE ANGEL means something different so I’m looking forward to that but this Avatar train he’s riding on seems like a slow and boring ride so I’m getting off at the next stop and hoping he directs another Terminator or Alien movie like the good ole days.
I enjoyed last year’s THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY so I’ll be there for the final two installments and it also looks like Jackson will be at the helm of THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: PRISONERS OF THE SUN. I grew up reading Tintin books so I can’t wait for that and I prefer hobbits to avatars so Jackson takes this category handily.
James Cameron
I think Peter Jackson has a brighter future than my Canadian brother James Cameron but that doesn’t change the fact that Cameron won two of the four categories in this contest and tied in another. The final decision is, as always, with the readers so cast your votes and let’s see if the New Zealand director has a chance to beat the avatar out of Cameron.

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