This Just In

Avatar Just Became the Highest-Grossing Film of All-Time (Again)

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.

Other Features

Best Films to Stream This Week in the UK

With cinemas still closed, we highlight the best new streaming releases, from Oscar nominees to a monster romance

Stream With a Theme: The Best Time Loop Films

To mark the arrival of Palm Springs on Prime Video, we highlight the cinematic time loops worth putting on repeat...

Angelina Jolie Fights Fire (and Assassins) In the Trailer For Those Who Wish Me Dead

The new film from Sicario director Taylor Sheridan centres on a fire warden who must help a young boy escape ruthless killers

Every MonsterVerse Film, Ranked

As Godzilla vs. Kong arrives on digital platforms, we cast our gaze back to this mega franchise's hits and misses to date...


True Mothers review – intermittently engaging melodrama

The latest from Sweet Bean filmmaker Naomi Kawase tells the story of an unconventional adoption but feels stretched at 140 minutes

Valley of Souls review – stylish and affecting journey through divided Columbia

An extraordinary first-time performance anchors a raw and mythic story of a father searching for the bodies of his murdered sons

Promising Young Woman review – an electric exploration of grief

Carey Mulligan is devastating in Emerald Fennell’s disorienting story of love, violence, and pain that refuses to give easy answers

Songs My Brothers Taught Me review – Chloé Zhao’s deeply moving debut

Finally granted a UK release six years after its festival debut, this drama lays the groundwork for its director's future masterworks