Avatar retakes box office crown from Avengers: Endgame After re-release
Whether just out of spite, or just because he can, James Cameron decided to re-release Avatar in China in an effort to retake the box office crown from Avengers: Endgame. As it turns out, the gamble paid off. Per Deadline, Avatar took in a surprisingly lucrative $21.1 million over the weekend, enough to propel it over Avengers and regain the title, “Highest Grossing Film of All Time” with a massive worldwide take of $2,798,579,794 — compared to Avengers‘ $2,797,501,328. In a humorous tweet, the Russo Brothers commended Cameron for his victory, though it’s probably just a matter of time before they re-release their own film and take back the crown.
Something to consider: in 2009, China had roughly 5,000 theater screens. Despite this, Avatar still managed to gross over $200 million. In 2019, when Avengers was released, Chinese theaters rose to nearly 70,000 and added nearly $630 million to the Marvel blockbusters worldwide haul. It stands to reason that, with the aid of those additional theaters, Avatar may have eventually crossed the $3 billion mark, which is incredible to think about.
Though, all of this is moot as neither film’s success was enough to land a spot in the Top 10 all time domestic earners when adjusted to inflation. As it stands, that list belongs to (per BoxOfficeMojo) Gone with the Wind, Star Wars: A New Hope, The Sound of Music, E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial, Titanic, The Ten Commandments, Jaws, Doctor Zhivago, The Exorcist and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Of course, most of those films had the benefit of dozens of re-releases over the years, less competition from other media sources, including TV, home media and/or digital streaming. So, any way you slice it, Avatar and Avengers: Endgame are still massive hits in their own right, no matter which one ultimately lands on top.
Also, Disney owns both so who really cares, right?