Up till now, Avengers: Endgame was just ahead of Avatar in the $2.7 billion-and-change club. Now Avatar has even more work to do to reclaim its title.
It may sound strange to suddenly add money to a movie’s title months after it ended its release, but it’s not even that unusual. As Forbes noted, studios sometimes update box office totals on major worldwide releases like this to adjust for under-reported totals. In this case, China updated its box office totals to add another $3 million to Avengers: Endgame‘s tally.
China was already in the books for giving Avengers: Endgame well over $600 million. Endgame would never have come close to #1 without China. (That’s another reason it’s so impressive Joker passed $1 billion without help from China.) So for China to find even more money? Kevin Feige may just launch every premiere from China from now on.
Since Avengers: Endgame was already the highest-grossing movie of all time, it’s obviously the first time any movie has hit the $2.8 billion milestone. Your move, James Cameron.
Avatar‘s worldwide gross — including its own re-release after its initial December 2009 opening — is $2,743,856,300. So it will take some hustle to catch up to $2.8 billion.
James Cameron congratulated Avengers: Endgame for dethroning Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time, not adjusting for inflation. He made a good point — it shows that audiences are still willing to head out to theaters and spend money for major movies. That was a concern to him, since he’s busy making Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5. He said he hopes they’ll be as successful as Endgame, but knows that’s not exactly up to him.
However, James Cameron said he thinks it’s a “certainty” that Avatar will ultimately reclaim the top box office title from Avengers: Endgame through a re-release. When will that re-release happen? I can imagine Disney — which now owns everything — re-releasing Avatar in theaters shortly before Avatar 2‘s December 2021 release date. It would make sense to introduce the movie to a wider audience, since a major reason Avatar got the most money in the first place was the 3D appeal and the thrill of seeing it on the big screen. Watching it on Disney+ on your tablet isn’t quite the same.
But, for now, Avengers: Endgame gets to strut into Oscars season with $2.8 billion in its wallet. Will that help it at all? Oscar nominations are coming out tomorrow (Monday, January 13) morning and Endgame will almost certainly get something on the technical side, but anything else? Disney submitted 13 Endgame actors and a bunch of other folks for awards consideration, but we’ll see.