It finally happened: Avengers: Endgame surpassed Avatar at the worldwide box office over the weekend to become the #1 film of all time. And now Avatar filmmaker James Cameron has responded with his own brief, Avatar-influenced letter of congratulations:
— Avatar (@officialavatar) July 22, 2019
And in a genuinely classy move, Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo responded with admiration towards Cameron:
Unadjusted for inflation, the star-studded Marvel sequel/conclusion Avengers: Endgame is now at $2.790 billion, which surged past Avatar’s $2.789 billion thanks to a theatrical push luring viewers with “bonus footage” after the end credits. Granted, Avatar had its own theatrical re-release, but it wasn’t in an effort to push it past any existing box office records—James Cameron’s technically marvelous 2009 sci-fi film was a one-of-a-kind phenomenon the overtook Cameron’s other technically marvelous phenomenon Titanic, which previously held the all-time worldwide box office record at $2.187 billion.
So yes, Avengers: Endgame is our new box office king, and fittingly so. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is itself a unique phenomenon; a feat no other studio has come close to matching, and one I don’t think we’ll see replicated anytime soon. “Marvel” has replaced “Tom Cruise” or “Julia Roberts” as a guaranteed box office draw, as the brand has now usurped the “movie star” moniker. There’s a reason audiences show up to see Chris Hemsworth in the Thor movies, but not in Men in Black or In the Heart of the Sea.
On the domestic all-time chart, however, Endgame is still #2 behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens and barring a huge re-release, doesn’t look like it’ll match it. Indeed, The Force Awakens sits pretty with a whopping $936.6 million domestic total, while Avengers: Endgame lags behind at $854.2 million.
So how long will the Endgame worldwide record last? Avatar held that top spot for a decade, which is insanely impressive. Will Cameron snatch it back with Avatar 2? Or will we have to wait for the next culminating Marvel event for Endgame to be usurped? Your guess is as good as mine.