Avengers: Endgame rolled into theaters this weekend and absolutely obliterated any and all of even the wildest expectations. Marvel's latest grossed a mind-numbingly huge $350 million domestically, on its way to $1.2 billion in total, thanks to nearly $900 million from international markets, including a record-setting, gigantic debut in China. And that was just over the course of a weekend. So it would seem, we must ask the question; is this going to be the movie that can finally defeat Avatar for the all-time box office crown?
Believe it or not, James Cameron's Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie ever made at $2.78 billion globally. What's more amazing is that the ambitious and visually stunning sci-fi epic grossed just $77 million on its opening weekend. But its holdover is the stuff of legend, as it made $75.6 million the following weekend, only to slip just a tiny bit to $68.4 million in its third frame. So on and so forth, just like that, all over the world, until it amassed that unthinkable $2.78 billion figure. Just to put it into perspective. Only three other movies have ever crossed the $2 billion mark at all with Titanic at the number two spot with $2.18 billion. Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($2.06 billion) and Infinity War ($2.04 billion) trail behind.
So the next closest movie on the list is still roughly $500 million behind which, again, is still pretty hard to believe. That said, if any movie has a shot, it could very well be Avengers: Endgame, which feels like a once in a generation pop culture moment. At this point, it's destined to cross the $2 billion mark and, depending on how next weekend shakes out, could already be a lock to dethrone Titanic for the silver medal. Even so, if it can accomplish that feat, it's still got a long way to go to topple Avatar.
Much has changed in the moviegoing landscape over the course of the last decade. Hollywood is more franchise and blockbuster obsessed than ever before. Case in point, James Cameron is currently working on four Avatar sequels that will finally begin rolling out next year. Plus, the rise of streaming services like Netflix have given consumers more options than ever. There is far more competition not only at the box office, but in the entertainment landscape in general. That could make any movie ever beating that record, until inflation hits such a point that it's far less challenging, nearly impossible.
It's also worth noting that we're not adjusting for inflation here. It's also a very important factor that Avatar was released in December and had far less competition coming down the pipeline in the weeks that followed. Avengers: Endgame, meanwhile, essentially kicked off the summer movie season, with movies such as Detective Pikachu, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, Aladdin and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, all coming within the next month or so. Still, it's at least possible that this could be the movie to get the job done. And if not this movie, then can any movie do it? These numbers were provided by Box Office Mojo.