Avengers: Endgame is getting a re-release with extra surprises at the end of the credits, but that still may not be enough to top Avatar's all-time global box office record. Released in 2009, James Cameron's sci-fi epic proved all of the naysayers wrong with an incredible run that eventually totaled $2.788 billion worldwide. The film had uncommonly strong legs during its box office run; it opened with $77 million domestically and stayed in the top 10 for a whopping 14 weeks. It was the #1 movie in America from the time it opened in late December to the end of January 2010. As the only major genre film on the market, it dominated the multiplex.
Not even the much-celebrated return of the Star Wars franchise in 2015 could unseat Avatar from the top spot on the worldwide charts. And there wasn't a legitimate challenger for the record until Avengers: Endgame came out this past April. Billed as the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Infinity Saga, the blockbuster was a monumental event the likes of which the film industry hasn't seen in a long time. Opening with an incredible $1.2 billion worldwide, Endgame rose up the ranks in the blink of an eye, but it looks like it'll finish just below Avatar's haul. Even with the recently announced re-release for next week, the gap remains too large.
As of June 18, 2019, Endgame's worldwide total stands at $2.744 billion. This means it is $44 million short of tying the record. At first glance, that seems like chump change for Marvel, but in reality it's a sizable sum of money that'll be tough to earn. For starters, Endgame business is now on a steady decline. After seven weeks, it's out of the top 10 on the domestic weekend charts and no longer a huge draw internationally. There are die-hards continuing to go for repeat viewings, but casual audiences seem to have had their Endgame fill for the time being. While the additional post-credits bits will be fun to see, they aren't "important" enough to attract general moviegoers. Perhaps if this re-release (which is really a re-expansion) took place months from now instead of so soon after the initial run, there'd be more of a desire to see the movie on the big screen again. Toy Story 4 is about to come out and will be the film of choice for the next couple of weeks.
There's also no guarantee that the re-release would add that much to the bottom line. Coincidentally, Avatar got a special edition re-release of its own in August 2010, which grossed roughly $33.1 million worldwide over 12 weekends. In the event Endgame were to match that, it would still fall about $12.6 million shy of the record. And much like a traditional theatrical release, the new version of Endgame is going to make most of its money at the start before falling off. Going back to Avatar's special edition, that made $4 million from 812 locations domestically in its first weekend, but by the third it was only hitting $731,000. Additionally, it's unknown how long this new Endgame engagement will be. It could just be for a week or two like Once Upon a Deadpool.
It's fun to view Endgame's re-release as Marvel's bid to beat Avatar, but this is more likely a strategic marketing play since Spider-Man: Far From Home is right around the corner. If fans want to see Endgame again right before Far From Home, they'll have the opportunity and get a special reward for sticking around through the 3-hour epic again. Endgame co-director Anthony Russo went on record to say he doesn't care about passing Avatar at the box office, and while "the #1 movie of all-time" is a nice bragging right, most at Marvel are probably content "settling" for second place. Endgame had a great run whichever way one looks at it, and it's hard to be disappointed.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019