Can ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Still Top ‘Avatar’ at the Global Box Office?

Avengers: Endgame Avatar
While Avengers: Endgame made a ton of money in its first few weekends, the rate at which the movie is grossing is slowing down, leaving some to question whether the mega-hit film can top the incredibly-leggy Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time globally.


According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Avengers will be in for the fight of their lives if they hope to unseat Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time. As of May 22, Endgame has made $2.624B globally (not counting this week’s Monday-through-Thursday gross of Endgame overseas) in a fraction of the time it took Avatar to reach that same milestone, putting it a little over $163M from matching Avatar‘s $2.788B total. But the principle of slow and steady winning the race may prove to ring true with these two blockbusters, given that Endgame is dropping each week at a much faster pace than Avatar. While it seemed likely that superheroes would outgross aliens before the end of June, analyst Shawn Robbins noted that it now seems like the movie will have to crawl to Labor Day Weekend in early September before taking the #1 spot, presuming that that even happens:

“Avatar was all about the marathon and now [Endgame is] about the sprint. [The film’s made the] lion’s share of its business in the first few weeks. If it performs like it has been up to this point, there is about a $10 million to $20 million margin that falls half north and half south of Avatar… But it would be surprising if Disney didn’t get it there somehow.”

James Cameron’s space opera made tons of money by being the only game in town for quite a while, which is in stark contrast to the competition that the fourth Avengers movie has to face in the middle of a very active Summer season. At the current rate, it looks like Endgame will top out domestically at around $840M to $850M, give or take a few million dollars. Combined with the current total, that puts the movie at about $92M to $102M away from taking the #1 spot. That means that the remainder of the overseas gross will have more than match its domestic gross, and that’s a bit harder to pull off since the film is nearly finished with its run in China, the biggest international market for the film by a long shot. Memorial Day Weekend should give the movie a shot in the arm domestically, so we’ll have a better idea of what to expect going forward.


That’s not to say that Disney don’t have any tricks up their sleeve. The company kept Black Panther in theaters long enough for the movie to cross the $700M domestic mark just as it seemed like that was going to be a bridge too far for the massively-overperforming superhero movie. In addition, it’s also possible that Endgame could see a boost in business just before the release of Marvel Studios and Sony’s next Marvel movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is very much connected to the ending of the previous film. Earlier this year, Captain Marvel saw a huge boost towards the end of its run right around the time that Endgame was released. And if Disney find a way to rerelease the movie before the year’s end (possibly with a slightly-extended cut, or some exclusive content for Marvel’s true believers), then it passing Avatar could be an absolute certainty.


In the end, Disney is the ultimate winner here, having completed their purchase of Fox two months ago and having big plans for James Cameron’s franchise in the decade ahead. Cameron, meanwhile, gracefully accepted Endgame‘s accomplishment of topping Titanic. While the world has largely forgotten about the Avatar experience, in spite of what it did to redefine 3D and performance capture, Disney’s marketing machine is second-to-none, and all it will take are some great ads to turn future Avatar movies into massive hits. In the meantime, while Marvel aren’t likely to top Avengers: Endgame anytime soon, if ever, they will continue to have authority over the box office in the years ahead.


The film’s official synopsis is as follows:

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, Avengers: Endgame.

Avengers: Endgame is playing in theaters now. Meanwhile, James Cameron’s four Avatar sequels are scheduled to arrive on December 17, 2021, December 22, 2023, December 19, 2025, and December 17, 2027.