Avengers: Endgame has officially overtaken Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time. There’s never been an event movie quite like Avengers: Endgame; the film is essentially a celebration of the last decade’s worth of Marvel blockbusters, with a time travel plot that sent its heroes back to key moments in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There’s been intense debate as to whether or not Avengers: Endgame would become the highest-performing movie of all time, taking the crown from Avatar. James Cameron’s epic has held the #1 slot for a decade, in part because it simply didn’t have as much competition back in 2009. Marvel Studios faced a much more competitive summer, and they pulled out all the stops, even re-releasing Avengers: Endgame with a deleted scene and a tribute to the late, great Stan Lee
According to Variety, Avengers: Endgame has officially passed Avatar as the highest-grossing film of all time. On Saturday, the blockbuster crossed $2.7892 billion at the global box office and will exceed the $500,000 in ticket sales needed to surpass Avatar’s $2.7897 billion benchmarks. Disney co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn issued a congratulatory statement to the studio. He 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. 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.”
This is truly a tremendous achievement for Marvel Studios, and the fandom will be delighted with the news. It comes in spite of repeated reports that Avengers: Endgame would fall just short, in spite of the re-release. But the news is certainly perfectly timed – Avengers: Endgame passed this milestone literally at the moment Kevin Feige was taking to the stage at Comic-Con 2019 to present the beginning of Marvel’s Phase 4 slate.
Alan Horn’s comment is a particularly interesting one, though, because of the care he takes stressing the significance of both Avengers: Endgame and Avatar. No doubt Avatar’s #1 position would have figured prominently in the marketing for James Cameron’s sequels, and Disney is heavily invested in those; they aim to synergize the sequel releases with the opening of more World of Pandora theme parks. Of course, the amusing question is whether or not Disney will do another Avatar re-release ahead of these sequels – which could potentially mean Cameron steals this crown back next year.
In truth, though, this was a win-win scenario for Disney. In the aftermath of the Disney/Fox acquisition, they own 7 of the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time. Whether Avengers: Endgame beat Avatar or not, Disney would consider the film to be a resounding success.