Avengers: Endgame has posted unthinkable box office numbers very early in its run, and it now has an excellent chance of beating Avatar's all-time worldwide record. From its humble Phase 1 beginnings in the late 2000s and early 2010s, the Marvel Cinematic Universe evolved to become the premier cinematic franchise. Thanks to Endgame, the 22 films in the property have combined to gross a staggering $20 billion globally, and those figures will only increase substantially over the next handful of years as films such as Spider-Man: Far From Home, Black Widow, and others hit theaters.
It was always anticipated Endgame, which marks the end of the MCU's first era, would set some new records. But what the movie actually did was unfathomable. Riding waves of fervent audience anticipation and extremely positive word-of-mouth, Endgame grossed a seemingly-impossible $1.2 billion in its opening weekend. Some movies are lucky to make that for their entire theatrical run, and Endgame earned it in five days. The film is by no means done rewriting the history books, which has some wondering if it can top Avatar's global haul of $2.7 billion. There are a few reasons why it can.
First, as of this writing, Endgame is already at $1.6 billion worldwide, surpassing the original Avengers movie ($1.5 billion) on the all-time charts. Simple math indicates Endgame needs to make approximately $1.1 billion to match Avatar, which seems distinctly in the realm of possibility. Again, the film has been in theaters for a single week, so it's only at the start of what should be an unprecedented and incredible box office run. Even if there's considerable drop-off in the coming weeks as other studio tentpoles open (like Detective Pikachu and Godzilla: King of the Monsters), over an extended period of time, Endgame should be able to make another $1 billion. It's true only four films in history have made $2 billion, but one of them was last year's Infinity War and Endgame blew its predecessor's numbers right out of the water.
Highly-anticipated franchise installments such as Endgame tend to be front-loaded, earning a considerable amount of their final total in the first weekend when demand is through the roof. And that is most definitely going to be the case with Endgame, which may break records in its second frame, but not make a cool $1 billion in a single weekend again. Still, it's not like its legs are going to be cut off entirely - this film will continue to be a massive draw for a number of weeks. Die-hard MCU fans will want to experience all three hours of the story on the big screen again, leading to repeat viewings (no film gets to $2 billion without multiple viewings). When the crowds die down a bit, more casual audiences may seek it out for the first time to see what all the buzz was about when they're in the mood for a blockbuster. While there are other big titles on the horizon, none of them come close to matching Endgame in terms of magnitude. This is a film unlike anything that's been seen before.
Should Endgame pull this off and top Avatar, it'll essentially be the inverse of what James Cameron's sci-fi epic did. Avatar had a humble opening of $241.6 million worldwide in December 2009 and steadily stayed on the top of the charts as it feasted on weak January competition. Avatar's staying power will likely be stronger than Endgame's, especially since Avengers will be dealing with higher-profile films in May and June. At the same time, Endgame's opening was so monstrous, it's already more than halfway to Avatar's total - and it still has its whole run ahead of it. It would be quite a shock if Kevin Feige didn't become king of the (box office) world by the time Endgame bowed out of theaters.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019