Avatar Beats Avengers:Endgame - Highest-Grossing Film of All Time
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Avatar Surpasses Avengers: Endgame as Highest-Grossing Film of All Time

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BY March 17, 2021

A massive milestone was hit in box office records less than two years ago. After fighting tooth and nail for the title of the highest-grossing film of all time, Avengers: Endgame took the win away from Avatar. Though, after a recent rerelease of James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction success, the cards have shuffled once again. Avatar has just surpassed Avengers: Endgame and remains the highest-grossing film of all time.

Avatar Takes #1 Spot Back From Avengers: Endgame For The Highest-Grossing Film Of All Time

Let’s step back in time for a moment. It’s 2009, and cinematography advances are all the rage. James Cameron has just released an incredibly innovative film that told a simple story of humans colonizing a recently discovered land, Pandora. This Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana-led film didn’t break records for the tale told, but rather the ground-breaking effects that were only advanced by impressive 3D technology. Because the film was making history, everybody flocked to see it. After all, you don’t want to wait for a film’s DVD release with effects this impressive.

Over a decade later, fans would likely not remember the film if it weren’t for its highest-grossing status. The sequels have been in development for so long that everybody will forget the plot of the first. But, then again, I suppose this may pay off when we all have to re-watch Avatar to give us a recap, giving the studio a chance at even more money.

How Avatar Beats Avengers: Endgame

Avatar has earned more than $2.79 billion at the box office. This sounds like an outlandish number that could never be beaten. Until the MCU showed up. After slowly building to a dramatic climax of the various films in the franchise, Avengers: Endgame became one of the biggest event movies in history. It quickly shot to second place on the highest-grossing films of all time and slowly inched its way to the #1 spot until it surpassed Avatar in July of 2019.

Avengers: Endgame has a box office total of $2,797,501,328. Prior to a recent re-release, this gave them an edge of $7.92 million to hold onto the title. However, China recently rereleased Avatar in an effort to provide films in theaters due to the decrease in new films thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The lead has proven to be too little to keep its peace. Avatar now has a current (and continuously increasing) total of $2,798,579,794.

Avengers Endgame One Year Later Tony Snap avatar highest-grossing film Image via Marvel Studios.

There Will Be More Competing

As mentioned, Avatar has a slew of sequels coming in the near (or distant – who knows at this point) future. Four are expected to release, following an anticipated schedule of 2022, 2024, 2026, and 2028. Disney set their release schedule through 2023, including untitled Marvel films, but that all went up in smoke after the pandemic. Based on the length between films, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a wide rerelease of the original film ahead of the first sequel. This will help bring a few more million back to the box office, increasing its lead.

As for Avengers: Endgamethere isn’t much room for a wide rerelease. The current MCU climate is so jam-packed thanks to forced pushbacks throughout the pandemic. Still, re-watches of the entire franchise lineup are not uncommon, and it is bound to have more showings over the next decade. If they are particularly keen to retake the top spot, we can anticipate another attempt after Avatar has worn the crown for a few more years. Both of these franchises are owned by Disney, so the company is essentially competing with itself.

The competition between Avengers: Endgame and Avatar for the highest-grossing film is a reminder of cinema’s impact. Both films are beautiful representations of the limitations of their niche and have undoubtedly left a massive impact on the box office’s history as a whole. We can’t wait to see what eventually attempts to make it into the top three next! As it currently stands, James Cameron’s Titanic has the third-place trophy. Could Mr. Cameron replace himself? We wouldn’t be surprised!

Featured image via 20th Century Fox.


Meghan Hale is the kind of movie lover that has a "must watch" that is a mile long... and growing. When she isn't talking about the latest film and television news she is writing one of her many in-process novels, screaming film trivia at anybody who will listen, and working as a mental health care professional. Follow her on Twitter @meghanrhale for some fun theories and live reactions to all things entertainment.


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