There was a point in time when it looked like Avengers: Endgame wasn’t going to make it past James Cameron‘s Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all-time. Though it was a pretty arbitrary milestone that is practically meaningless, because we all know which is the better of the two films.
Not that the title would have given Avengers: Endgame any more validation it needs, but it has happened, as confirmed by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who announced the news to a packed Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con. More on all of this below.
THR was among the first to confirm the news. In a statement released out to the public, Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn said:
“A huge congratulations to the Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios teams, and thank you to the fans around the world who lifted Avengers: Endgame to these historic heights.”
It is important to note that Avengers: Endgame‘s total is not adjusted for inflation. The film trailed Avatar by $7 million, at least on paper, last weekend. However, Disney was able to confirm that Endgame‘s total was $2.790 billion, as of Sunday, passing Avatar‘s $2.789 billion worldwide total.
Disney also found some additional box office earnings when “reconciling the pic’s final global earnings, a process that occurs at the end of any film’s run.” So, of course, the numbers will change ever so slightly In this case, it meant that Avengers: Endgame earned $2 million or more from weekday ticket sales. Of course, we really wouldn’t be talking about any of this if Cameron’s film hadn’t set the bar so high. And Horn tipped his hat to Cameron:
“Of course, even with the passage of a decade, the impact of James Cameron’s Avatar remains as powerful as ever, and the astonishing achievements of both of these films are ongoing proof of the power of movies to move people and bring them together in a shared experience. The talented filmmakers behind these worlds have much more in store, and we look forward to the future of both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Pandora.”
And don’t forget, Cameron’s Avatar beat out the long-reigning Titanic, which was also directed by Cameron, to become the new box office champ back in 2009. So Cameron was king at the domestic box office from 1997 to 2015, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens passed Avatar, and from 1997 to 2019, when Endgame passed Avatar.
It’s interesting to note that when The Force Awakens passed Avatar at the domestic box office, it was unable to dethrone it at the worldwide box office. And while Endgame is now the all-time worldwide champ, its $854.2 million domestic total was unable to pass The Force Awakens‘ $936.6 million as the new domestic box office champ.
And, ironically enough, none of this matters as much as it would have in the past. Disney acquired Fox in a $71.3 billion mega-merger deal recently, which means Avatar belongs to Disney now. Not only that, but Disney will now be the one to distribute those sequels. And who knows, maybe one of those sequels will eventually surpass Avengers: Endgame.
Either way, Disney has thrown down the box office gauntlet. Or should I say thrown down the box office Infinity Gauntlet?