The film is set in the mid 22nd century, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi, a humanoid alien species indigenous to Pandora.
The film's title refers to the genetically engineered Na'vi clones that serve as avatars to the minds of remotely located humans, and are used to interact with the natives and environment of Pandora.
Avatar was internationally released on December 2009 to critical acclaim and commercial success. The film broke several box office records during its release and became the highest-grossing film of all time in North America and worldwide, surpassing Titanic. The film held this record for ten years until the worldwide release of Avengers: Endgame.
Following the film's success, Cameron signed with 20th Century Fox to produce two sequels, making Avatar the first of a planned trilogy.
Not to be confused with Avatar (series).