Obviously it is only one movie at this point, but I think Avatar
has potential to approach Star Wars
in cultural impact. Visually, its DNA has already been seen in Green Lantern
and seems to be found in the forthcoming John Carter
as well. In terms of 3-D, I think its influence cannot be overstated.
Of course, the franchise itself could fold if the sequel(s) are a flop, much like The Matrix
(which sequels made money, but were a disappointment compared to the first film, leading the franchise to slowly go out with a whimper).