Avengers: Endgame is inching towards Avatar at the worldwide box office, but a collection of high-profile June releases will prevent it from setting the new all-time worldwide mark. Released at the end of April, Endgame came storming out of the gates with an unprecedented opening weekend. It made $357.1 million domestically and $1.2 billion globally, both of which were records that blew the previous holders out of the water. Soon after, the film crossed $2 billion worldwide, and the conversation quickly turned to Endgame's pursuit of James Cameron's Avatar.
A decade ago, Cameron once again proved the naysayers wrong and laughed all the way to the bank as Avatar made an incredulous $2.788 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing film ever (unadjusted for inflation, of course). Early on in Endgame's run, the Marvel blockbuster was projected to surpass Avatar's total (we even thought it was going to), but now that doesn't seem like a sure bet. It's out of the realm of possibility for Endgame to beat The Force Awakens' all-time domestic record, and it'll likely fall just shy of Avatar globally by the time it's all said and done.
As of June 2, 2019, Endgame was at $2.714 billion worldwide, making it about $74 million short of the record. That's chump change for Marvel, but at this stage in Endgame's release, it's a hefty sum. The film's been in theaters for six weeks and business is starting to rapidly decline both in the United States and internationally (it's no longer playing in China, for instance). Competition is the main reason why. Obviously, none of 2019's other summer blockbusters can rival Endgame's commercial prowess, but their arrivals cut off repeat viewings for Avengers. Endgame was able to stay strong for most of May, but June brings some high-profile offerings that will prevent it from topping Avatar.
Over the next few weeks, the likes of Dark Phoenix, Men in Black: International, and Toy Story 4 will debut in theaters, being the shiny new tentpoles on the block for viewers to check out. Granted, not all of these are expected to do particularly well at the box office (Dark Phoenix and Men in Black may post franchise-worst openings), but the grosses aren't the full story here. Big genre films take away screens from Endgame, limiting the amount of money it can make in a given weekend. Remember, Avatar was a December release and had incredibly strong legs since it was basically the only "event" film in town. Summer is traditionally much more crowded at the multiplex with big-budget fare vying for ticket sales. If Endgame came out during the holiday season, then perhaps it would have broken the record by now.
It's hard to see a scenario where there's more than $74 million left for Endgame to make before it bows out of theaters. This past weekend, it made about $16.8 million globally. Endgame would need to post at least that much for more than four more weekends, which is not going to happen. Its box office figures will continue to go down from here, since there are several other movies coming out. Toy Story 4 may make $200 million just in the U.S. when it premieres. Endgame had an extraordinary run and was the first legitimate contender for the two box office crowns in years, but it's going to have to "settle" for second place on both charts. And if Endgame, the defining cinematic event of an entire generation, couldn't pull it off, these records may stand for a very, very long time.
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