Avatar may soon, once again, reign supreme at the box office. James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi epic is getting an unexpected re-release in China this weekend, with theaters in the country showing the movie beginning Friday. This means that Avengers: Endgame, which currently stands as the highest-grossing movie in history, is in serious danger of losing the crown to Avatar, which had previously held the title for roughly a decade.
According to a new report, Chinese movie theaters will be screening Avatar in both IMAX 3D and standard 3D this weekend. It is not clear how long the engagement will last. That said, the movie only needs a mere $7.4 million to overtake Avengers: Endgame. As it stands, Avatar has a $2.79 billion global box office total, while Avengers: Endgame managed to edge it out with $2.797 billion. As these things go, that was the equivalent of winning a horse race by a nose.
It is also worth pointing out that the box office around the world has pretty much been on life support for much of the last year. Theaters were closed due to health and safety concerns for months on end. Even where theaters are open, audiences have largely been hesitant to return. But not in China. 2021 has seen theaters in the country rebound in a big way. China has produced humongous hits, such as Hi, Mom ($783.4 million) and Detective Chinatown 3 ($680.6 million) so far this year. With that in mind, it is extremely easy to see Avatar earning at least $8 million to take back the number one spot.
Avatar had an unbelievable run in theaters upon its release in 2009. It opened with a good-but-not-amazing $77 million. However, defying industry logic, it just kept going and going, week after week. It ultimately topped out at $760.5 million domestically and $2.02 billion internationally, with more than $200 million of that total coming from China. At the time, it was so far ahead of what any other movie had ever accomplished, it seemed that no movie could ever hope to overtake it.
Along comes Avengers: Endgame in 2019. The Marvel Cinematic Universe entry became a global, must-see pop culture event. Especially thanks to the massive cliffhanger audiences were left with in Avengers: Infinity War, which hit theaters a year earlier in 2018. Directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo delivered the goods. Starting with a stellar $356 million domestic opening weekend, the movie went on a record-breaking run. Eventually, and just barely, it managed to take the all-time record away from Avatar.
But industry onlookers have always looked at the slim margin with curiosity. Especially with Avatar 2 (not to mention 3, 4 and 5) on the way in the coming years. That always represented opportunities for Disney to capitalize on re-releases of the original leading up to the sequels. It now seems inevitable that James Cameron will, sooner rather than later, reclaim his title as the unquestioned king of the box office. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.