The 2009 sci-fi blockbuster has taken the top spot from Avengers: Endgame. Yes, James Cameron always finds a way
Remember Avatar? It was basically Pocahontas in space, but with blue aliens, and it made a bit of money back in 2009, something to the tune of, oh, $2.7 billion – not unusual for a film directed by James Cameron. Avatar's success meant it went onto become the highest-grossing film of all-time, of course, an accolade it held for a period of 10 years – until Avengers: Endgame came along and stole the title in 2019.
Well, in a somewhat unexpected move, Cameron’s three-hour-long space epic – a film that has left a surprisingly small cultural footprint despite its money-making achievements – has once again regained the top spot as the highest-grossing film ever made. How? As cinema markets begin to open up around the world again, Avatar has found itself re-released in China, where it pulled in an impressive $8 million over the weekend, enough to close the gap and overtake Endgame, bringing its total to $2.8 billion.
The Russo brothers – who helmed the most recent Avengers outing – took to Twitter to congratulate Cameron on becoming the top dog all over again, as it tradition. Are they hoping to find a way to take back the number one spot again when cinemas re-open proper? There's very little money separating the two films, so it's certainly feasible, while the chances of Endgame going back into theatres, post-pandemic, seem fairly plausible. Wait. Is this going to be a “thing” for the next ten years?
James Cameron is currently in the midst of production on Avatar's four (!) sequels, part of his ongoing mission to make this franchise into a genuine pop cultural artefact people actually think about from time to time, instead of something they occasionally remember with a tiny laugh, like “Oh, yeah, Avatar.” At this point in the pandemic, though, the prospect of watching endless Avatar sequels in a bonafide movie theatre feels like the stuff that cinematic dreams are made of. We'll take 'em, James! We'll take hundreds of them!
Avatar 2 is scheduled for release in December 2022.